Fall wild turkey harvest tops 1,300
Prairie State Outdoors
Illinois archery and firearm hunters killed a preliminary total of 1,330 wild turkeys during the fall seasons that concluded Jan. 20.
Archery hunting was open for wild turkeys concurrently with archery deer season.
Firearm hunters were allowed to take wild turkeys Oct. 20 – 28.
This season’s total was almost identical to 2011 when 1,316 birds were taken.
Fifty-one counties were open to fall firearm turkey hunting, while 96 counties were open to the fall archery turkey season.
Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources wild turkey program manager, said he is hopeful that last spring’s dry conditions produced a better hatch.
“Our brood counts were down slightly, but reports from the field have indicated a good year for reproduction,” he said in a statement. “Broods were difficult to observe as crops were planted and grew quickly early last spring.
Young turkeys stayed in the shade when temperatures rose, making observation more difficult.
Neighboring states also reported better reproduction this past spring, Brewer said.
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).
County by county totals and comparisons with last year are below.