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Hunters kill 14,133 turkeys in wet, rainy spring season

May 21, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Prairie State Outdoors


Hunters concluded a wet, rainy spring wild turkey season with a preliminary total of 14,133 birds killed in all seasons.

Youth hunters killed 923 birds in 2013.

That’s down from the 2012 record of 1,300 turkeys harvested but still good enough for the second best youth season in Illinois.

Four new counties allowed spring turkey hunting in Illinois in 2013, including Douglas, Ford, Kane and Lake.

One hundred of Illinois’ 102 counties were open to turkey hunting.

South zone harvest was 6,494, down from 7,006 last year.

North zone hunters killed 7,639 compared with 8,935 in 2012.

Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources wild turkey project manager said weather was a factor for hunters and breeding activity was delayed.

Hunters in Jo Daviess County experienced rain or snow every day of the first five-day season segment.

For all five seasons combined (32 days) in Jo Daviess County, there was rain or snowfall on 20 days of the season.

The month of April was the fourth-wettest April on record in Illinois.

Brewer said cold and wet springs are not good for turkey production and added Illinois has experienced similar conditions six of the last seven years.

Despite uncooperative weather, Brewer said habitat restoration is the best bet for preserving and improving Illinois’ wild turkey.

“The long term key in improving wild turkey populations continues to be habitat management, particularly restoration of open oak woodlands for nesting and brood rearing,” he said.

Spring wild turkey hunting closed May 9 in the south zone and May 16 in the north zone.
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The top five counties in the south zone in 2013 were Jefferson (411), Pope (360), Marion (344), and a tie for fourth with Randolph and Wayne (333).

The top five north zone counties were Jo Daviess (552), Pike (396), Fulton (328), Macoupin (293), and Adams (290).

A county-by-county table can be found below:



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