Illinois turkey hunters do better than last year: Harvest up slightly

SHARE Illinois turkey hunters do better than last year: Harvest up slightly
SHARE Illinois turkey hunters do better than last year: Harvest up slightly

If you’re looking for a reason behind Illinois hunters doing slightly better for wild turkey harvest this spring from the spring of 2016, the most likely explanation is pretty much in the record harvest doing the youth seasons.

At least from what I remember of the weather, the weekends were primarily as variable as weekend spring weather generally is, so I doubt that is the defining factor.

So I am going to side with the idea of the record youth hunt being the difference. Youth hunters bagged1,541 birds, compared with 1,045 in 2016. That more than covers the difference between the overall harvest of 15,719 this spring and the 15,484 in 2016.

Here is the breakdown by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

Hunters in Illinois Harvested 15,719 Birds During 2017 Spring Turkey SeasonSPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 15,719 wild turkeys during the 2017 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth season. The 2017 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,484 in 2016. The statewide preliminary total includes the record Youth Turkey Season harvest of 1,541 birds, compared with youth season harvest of 1,045 turkeys in 2016. Spring turkey hunting was open in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The 2017 seasons were April 3-May 4 in the South Zone and April 10-May 11 in the North Zone. The Youth Spring Turkey Season was March 25-26 and April 1-2. This was the first year the youth turkey season was open for two weekends statewide, rather than one weekend for the South Zone and one for the North Zone. Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,842 wild turkeys during all season segments in the South Zone, compared with 6,694 last year in the south. The North Zone preliminary harvest total this year was 8,877 wild turkeys, compared with 8,790 in the north in 2016. Weather always plays a big role in harvest numbers and 2017 was no different, said Luke Garver, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wild Turkey Project Manager. For the first two-thirds of the season, harvest trends were well above average. The significant rain events we experienced across much of the state slowed harvest considerably. Despite a rainy end to the spring season, this year marked the third consecutive season of an increased harvest total. Additionally, we were encouraged to see the youth season being the success it was. The top counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2017 were Jefferson (412), Jackson (359), Union (359), Randolph (349), and Pope (348). The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (610), Pike (404), Adams (395), Fulton (378), and Hancock (325).The table below includes the preliminary 2017 county-by-county spring turkey harvest results with comparable totals for 2016:Illinois Spring Turkey Season Harvest County Totals County 2017 2016 Adams 395 389 Alexander 156 134 Bond 142 135 Boone 74 76 Brown 298 357 Bureau 163 157 Calhoun 239 210 Carroll 213 195 Cass 210 213 Champaign 26 22 Christian 51 41 Clark 181 158 Clay 219 210 Clinton 82 86 Coles 45 39 Crawford 210 166 Cumberland 48 54 DeKalb 16 21 DeWitt 54 45 Douglas 2 6 Edgar 80 85 Edwards 85 96 Effingham 117 86 Fayette 276 233 Ford 10 10 Franklin 166 152 Fulton 378 446 Gallatin 112 129 Greene 147 157 Grundy 56 56 Hamilton 252 234 Hancock 325 325 Hardin 134 145 Henderson 135 139 Henry 75 82 Iroquois 75 60 Jackson 359 313 Jasper 140 131 Jefferson 412 420 Jersey 187 187 JoDaviess 610 568 Johnson 264 278 Kane 5 2 Kankakee 35 34 Kendall 18 15 Knox 274 267 Lake 1 1 LaSalle 117 137 Lawrence 141 117 Lee 116 100 Livingston 26 19 Logan 43 37 Macon 26 27 Macoupin 275 303 Madison 213 241 Marion 337 380 Marshall 82 69 Mason 154 141 Massac 104 103 McDonough 140 137 McHenry 83 62 McLean 68 63 Menard 101 105 Mercer 203 192 Monroe 157 169 Montgomery 188 175 Morgan 126 147 Moultrie 29 24 Ogle 214 189 Peoria 153 153 Perry 252 233 Piatt 8 10 Pike 404 393 Pope 348 356 Pulaski 114 95 Putnam 45 37 Randolph 349 372 Richland 113 106 Rock Island 202 191 Saline 123 125 Sangamon 133 110 Schuyler 277 360 Scott 98 73 Shelby 120 117 St. Clair 126 140 Stark 13 6 Stephenson 248 231 Tazewell 57 65 Union 359 354 Vermilion 133 136 Wabash 56 48 Warren 68 75 Washington 131 149 Wayne 317 297 White 169 153 Whiteside 162 160 Will 73 51 Williamson 309 308 Winnebago 185 175 Woodford 79 103 Total: 15719 15484


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