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Spring Turkey Harvest Remains Stable
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/24/2015

State turkey hunters registered a total of 40,975 birds during the 2015 spring turkey hunting season. According to Department of Natural Resources officials, this is a slight decrease from the spring 2014 season.

"We heard from many hunters who were seeing good numbers of birds this spring," said Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "Weather across the state was excellent for hunting throughout much of the season. Total statewide spring turkey harvest has been between 37,000 and 43,000 turkeys for the past five years. Wisconsin's wild turkey populations have stabilized across the state after 30 years of continuous growth and expansion. Looking forward, we expect that weather during winter and the critical spring breeding period will cause some annual population fluctuations. We have very good turkey hunting in Wisconsin and the future looks bright and stable for turkey hunters."

Zone 1 again produced the highest overall turkey harvest at 11,558 birds, followed by zones 2 and 3, where hunters registered 10,344 and 9,960 turkeys, respectively. The highest hunter success was in zone 2 with a success rate of 23 percent, followed by zone 3 at 19.9 percent, and zone 1 at 18.9 percent. Success rates were between 14.5 percent and 18.2 percent for zones 4 through 7. Overall, the statewide success rate was 19.7 percent, similar to the 19.9 percent success rate reported by hunters last year.

Meanwhile, the number of permits issued for this year's hunt decreased slightly. A key objective of Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Management Plan is to maximize opportunities for hunters while ensuring that harvest does not lead to population declines. Biologists in Wisconsin closely monitor harvest and other information to track turkey populations through time, and are always vigilant that harvests be sustainable.

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