Turkey harvest down more than 2,000: Illinois hunting, turkey hunting

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turkeys04_01_11_2_e1554223363198.jpg

File photo of turkeys in spring doing what turkeys want to do in spring.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Turkey harvest during Illinois’ spring seasons was down more than 2,000 birds in 2018.

But, unless your life is spent completely in climate-controlled indoors, you will admit that weather more than likely has something to do with it.

As Luke Garver, Illinois’ wild turkey program manager, noted pithily, “It is not often Illinois turkey hunters can say they’ve had the opportunity to experience both snowfall and 90-degree weather in one season.”

That is the truth.

Here are the details from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

Hunters in Illinois Harvested 13,500 Turkeys During 2018 Spring Turkey Season SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 13,500 wild turkeys during the 2018 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth season, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. The 2018 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,720 in 2017. The statewide preliminary total includes the Youth Turkey Season harvest of 1,139 birds, compared with the record youth harvest of 1,539 turkeys in 2017. The statewide record total was set in 2006 when 16,569 turkeys were harvested. Spring turkey hunting was open in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The 2018 season dates were April 9-May 10 in the South Zone and April 16-May 17 in the North Zone. The Youth Spring Turkey Season was March 31-April 1 and April 7-8. This was the second year the youth turkey season was open for two weekends statewide. Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 5,514 wild turkeys during all season segments in the South Zone, compared with 6,842 last year in the south. The North Zone preliminary harvest total this year was 7,986 wild turkeys, compared with 8,878 in northern counties in 2017. The top counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2018 were Jefferson (362), Randolph (303), Jackson (287), Marion (269), and Pope (261). The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (584), Fulton (336), Adams (331), Pike (310), and Hancock (296). Multiple factors likely contributed to the reduction in harvest totals this season. We anticipated some declines as a result of the poor production of young turkeys noted during our 2017 Brood Survey last summer, said Luke Garver, IDNR Wild Turkey Program Manager. Youth season hunters experienced cold and wet weather during both weekends in much of the state, and winter-like conditions continued into the early season segments in both the North and South zones. It is not often Illinois turkey hunters can say they’ve had the opportunity to experience both snowfall and 90-degree weather in one season. The table below includes the preliminary 2018 county-by-county spring turkey harvest results with comparable totals for 2017:

County20182017
Adams331395
Alexander135156
Bond116141
Boone5575
Brown246299
Bureau182163
Calhoun194239
Carroll219213
Cass217211
Champaign1726
Christian3851
Clark160181
Clay189219
Clinton8982
Coles3345
Cook01
Crawford178210
Cumberland4448
DeKalb1616
DeWitt3854
Douglas32
Edgar6580
Edwards8385
Effingham99117
Fayette219276
Ford1310
Franklin147166
Fulton336378
Gallatin84112
Greene137147
Grundy6656
Hamilton194252
Hancock296325
Hardin92134
Henderson141135
Henry8275
Iroquois6075
Jackson287359
Jasper104140
Jefferson362412
Jersey163187
Jo Daviess584610
Johnson185264
Kane45
Kankakee4735
Kendall1618
Knox262274
Lake61
LaSalle126117
Lawrence129141
Lee86116
Livingston2626
Logan4043
Macon2226
Macoupin224275
Madison151213
Marion269337
Marshall6082
Mason167154
Massac86103
McDonough123140
McHenry8782
McLean7168
Menard84101
Mercer219203
Monroe134157
Montgomery139188
Morgan123126
Moultrie2229
Ogle182214
Peoria119153
Perry214252
Piatt98
Pike310404
Pope261348
Pulaski104114
Putnam3945
Randolph303349
Richland90113
Rock Island191202
Saline88123
Sangamon111133
Schuyler256277
Scott5798
Shelby118120
St. Clair111126
Stark1913
Stephenson182248
Tazewell5557
Union247359
Vermilion124133
Wabash3756
Warren6568
Washington118131
Wayne260317
White139169
Whiteside156162
Will7173
Williamson210309
Winnebago167185
Woodford6579
Total1350015720

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