SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced that wild turkey hunters in the state harvested a preliminary total of 1,330 birds during the 2012 Fall Archery and Fall Firearm Wild Turkey seasons. The Fall Archery Wild Turkey Season began on October 1, 2012 and concluded on January 20, 2013, while the Fall Firearm Wild Turkey Season was open from October 20-28, 2012. The preliminary harvest compares with a total wild turkey harvest of 1,316 birds during the 2011 seasons. Fifty-one counties were open to fall firearm turkey hunting, while 96 counties were open to the fall archery turkey season.
Interest in fall turkey hunting remains strong, and much of the harvest is from archery deer hunters who also enjoy the option of being able to harvest a wild turkey while afield. Fall firearm harvest fell slightly this past season (6.7%), in part reflective of the greater interest in deer hunting during the fall in Illinois. Fall archery harvest for wild turkeys increased by about 8.4%.
“We are hopeful that the drier spring last year produced a better hatch,” said Paul Brewer, IDNR Wild Turkey Project Manager. “Our brood counts were down slightly, but reports from the field have indicated a good year for reproduction. Broods were difficult to observe as crops were planted and grew quickly early last spring. Later in the spring when temperatures soared, young turkeys seemed to remain in the shaded areas where they were not as easy to see.”
Other Midwest states also reported better reproduction this past spring.
The top five firearm counties for fall turkey harvest were Jo Daviess (73), Pope (34), Jefferson (34), Union (32) and Williamson (32). The top five archery counties for fall turkey harvest were Fulton (27), Jefferson (26), Peoria (24), Jo Daviess (23), and Cass and Ogle (19 each).
For complete county harvest totals for wild turkey hunting, check the IDNR website at: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Documents/2012FallWildTurkeyHarvestCountyList.pdf