Harvest from Wisconsin’s 2022 spring turkey hunting season up 5%


Hunters recorded 39,007 wild turkeys during Wisconsin’s 2022 spring turkey hunting season, an increase of 5% from last year, according to preliminary information released Friday by the State Department of Wildlife. Natural resources.

The increase in mortality occurred on a similar number of tags to those issued in 2021 and despite late greening and less than optimal weather conditions earlier this year, the DNR said.

The Wisconsin results, coupled with increased harvests recorded in at least three other Midwestern states this spring, suggest that the past year has been good for turkey breeding and survival in the region and could at least temporarily allay concerns about the population decline of popular game birds in many countries. States.

By zone, Wisconsin’s casualty count was 10,504 in Zone 1; 9,186 in zone 2; 9,918 in area 3; 6,121 in zone 4; 1,717 in Zone 5; 962 in area 6; 518 in area 7; and 81 at Fort McCoy.

Without correction for the non-participation of hunters who purchased a license but did not pursue the birds this spring, the statewide success rate in 2022 was 17.7%, down from 16.9 % in 2021.

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According to registration reports, the 2022 kill included 32,244 adult toms, 6,442 jakes (one-year-old males), and 321 hens. The 83% proportion of mature toms in the harvest was in line with the averages of the last decade.

Only bearded turkeys can be legally hunted in the Wisconsin spring; a small percentage of hens have beards.

The DNR sold 220,026 of the 245,700 available spring turkey licenses this year. Sales included 142,091 harvest authorizations granted by lottery last winter and 77,935 sold over-the-counter from mid-March.

The spring turkey hunt started on April 20 and ended on May 31. As has been the case for decades, the season has been separated into six periods and seven geographic zones.

The April 16-17 juvenile turkey hunt represented the only notable decline in 2022. During the two-day juvenile season, hunters recorded 2,482 birds, down nearly 25% from 3,308 in 2021. The DNR attributed the decline to the late onset of spring in much of the state, which results in poorer hunting conditions during the young hunt.

Wisconsin Wild Turkey Management Areas.

Wisconsin has offered a spring turkey hunting season since 1983.

Wild turkeys are native to Wisconsin, but were extirpated by unregulated hunting in the 1800s. After several failed attempts in the 20th century, a restoration effort that began in 1976 took hold in southwestern Wisconsin. The project was a partnership between the DNR, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The job was to trap wild birds in Missouri and release them into the Bad Ax watershed in southwestern Wisconsin. Subsequent trapping and translocation work from the growing Wisconsin herd helped seed more areas of the state.

Wild turkeys are now found in all 72 counties.

Wisconsin’s wild turkey population has shown strong growth as birds fill unoccupied habitat.

The spring turkey harvest mirrored the population trend, with annual increases reported in all but two years from 1983 to 2008. The state’s record spring turkey harvest was set in 2008 with 52,880 birds recorded.

Since then, the Wisconsin turkey population and spring harvests have settled into a range below peak.

And in recent years, many states, including Missouri, have seen substantial declines in their turkey populations.

Research into the cause or causes is ongoing.

But this spring, at least three Midwestern states will join Wisconsin in posting increases in their turkey catches.

Illinois recorded 13,703 turkeys, up 1% from 2021; Minnesota counted 12,290 birds (up 2%); and Missouri reported a harvest of 36,252 (up 5%).

No data was available Friday for Iowa or Michigan.

Wisconsin’s fall turkey season opens September 17 and runs through November 18 in Zones 6 and 7 and through December 31 in Zones 1 through 5.


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