Cold and wet weather greeted turkey hunters for much of the season

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 14,133 wild turkeys during the 2013 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth seasons. The 2013 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,941 in 2012.  Hunters took a state-record 16,605 turkeys during the spring season in 2006. Youth hunters took a second-highest season preliminary total of 923 birds, down from the 2012 record of 1,300 turkeys harvested.

Four new counties were opened for spring turkey hunting in Illinois for 2013 – Ford, Douglas, Kane and Lake. This brings the total of counties open for spring turkey hunting to 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties.

Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,494 wild turkeys during all seasons in the South Zone, a decrease from the harvest of 7,006 last year in the south. The North Zone total of 7,639 wild turkeys compares with last year’s total of 8,935 in the north. During the 2006 record year, harvests were 6,530 in the south and 10,075 in the north.

“Many hunters commented on the cold and wet weather making hunting very difficult,” said Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wild Turkey Project Manager. “Breeding activity was delayed, and gobblers were not very responsive for much of the season.”

As an example, in Jo Daviess County, typically one of the leading counties in spring turkey harvest, there was some rain or snow every day of the first five-day season segment. For all five seasons combined (32 days) in Jo Daviess County, there was rain or snowfall on 20 days of the season, while wind gusts exceeding 20 mph on 21 days, as well.

Statewide, the month of April was the fourth-wettest April on record in Illinois.

“Cold and wet springs are typically not good for turkey production, and we have experienced those conditions for six of the last seven years,” Brewer added. “The long term key in improving wild turkey populations continues to be habitat management, particularly restoration of open oak woodlands for nesting and brood rearing.”

The 2013 Spring Turkey seasons were April 8-May 9 for the South Zone and April 15-May 16 for the North Zone.  Youth Spring Turkey Seasons were March 30-31 in the South Zone and April 6-7 in the North Zone.

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2013 were Jefferson (411), Pope (360), Marion (344), and a tie for fourth with Randolph and Wayne (333). The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (552), Pike (396), Fulton (328), Macoupin (293), and  Adams (290).

The table below includes the preliminary 2013 county-by-county spring turkey harvest results with comparable totals for 2012.

County

2012

2013

Adams

366

290

Alexander

119

115

Bond

154

158

Boone

75

69

Brown

242

205

Bureau

140

121

Calhoun

252

264

Carroll

222

229

Cass

246

215

Champaign

17

19

Christian

64

50

Clark

165

146

Clay

219

237

Clinton

114

80

Coles

49

36

Crawford

161

152

Cumberland

78

53

DeKalb

22

13

DeWitt

62

41

Douglas

closed

13

Edgar

120

84

Edwards

103

104

Effingham

103

109

Fayette

268

246

Ford

closed

14

Franklin

234

188

Fulton

404

328

Gallatin

123

106

Greene

190

175

Grundy

47

42

Hamilton

207

220

Hancock

230

185

Hardin

154

162

Henderson

168

127

Henry

82

75

Iroquois

75

56

Jackson

323

301

Jasper

141

93

Jefferson

468

411

Jersey

203

201

JoDaviess

638

552

Johnson

261

249

Kane

closed

3

Kankakee

39

34

Kendall

18

10

Knox

241

207

Lake

closed

1

LaSalle

123

101

Lawrence

127

117

Lee

81

87

Livingston

24

19

Logan

35

26

Macon

33

26

Macoupin

314

293

Madison

280

233

Marion

331

344

Marshall

86

58

Mason

194

164

Massac

92

97

McDonough

119

91

McHenry

60

44

McLean

77

66

Menard

117

97

Mercer

209

177

Monroe

170

166

Montgomery

158

159

Morgan

185

144

Moultrie

24

28

Ogle

192

167

Peoria

155

130

Perry

226

243

Piatt

15

8

Pike

452

396

Pope

380

360

Pulaski

140

111

Putnam

52

38

Randolph

332

333

Richland

124

121

Rock Island

207

176

Saline

145

129

Sangamon

90

85

Schuyler

269

179

Scott

85

67

Shelby

96

83

St. Clair

135

120

Stark

6

8

Stephenson

216

169

Tazewell

63

60

Union

290

294

Vermilion

157

122

Wabash

54

41

Warren

65

56

Washington

157

133

Wayne

386

333

White

166

136

Whiteside

185

167

Will

64

61

Williamson

319

252

Winnebago

191

155

Woodford

81

74

TOTAL

15,941

14,133

Logo courtesy Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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