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Hunters Register Over 4,600 Turkeys During Fall Hunt
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/06/2014

Wisconsin wild turkey hunters registered a total of 4,633 birds during the fall 2013 wild turkey season. That was down 34 percent from the 2012 season.

"The late spring and wet June last year translated into poor overall reproductive success for turkeys, so with fewer young birds out there we expected to see a bit of a drop in harvest during the fall season," said Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "However, the magnitude of the decline from the 2012 harvest was somewhat surprising. We'll be looking at the results of our fall hunter survey to see if hunter participation rates or effort may have played roles in the drop in harvest."

Variable weather conditions play a significant role in turkey population dynamics, and turkey populations can increase rapidly during years of favorable weather, according to Walter. The past two years provide nice examples of how variable annual production can be, with near-record levels of poult production in the very early, dry spring of 2012 followed by very poor production during the cold, wet spring of 2013.

Meanwhile, permit availability remained unchanged in 2013. The total number of permits available statewide for the fall 2013 season was 96,700, identical to 2012. A total of 64,983 permits were sold for the 2013 fall turkey season; 55,711 were allotted via the drawing, and another 9,272 permits were sold over-the-counter after the drawing had been completed.

The spring 2014 turkey season begins with the Youth Turkey Hunt, April 12 and 13. The regular season begins April 16.

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