Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 15,941 wild turkeys during the 2012 Spring Turkey Season. The 2012 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,121 in 2011. Hunters took a state-record 16,605 turkeys during the spring season in 2006.
Hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 7,006 wild turkeys during all seasons in the South Zone, an increase from the harvest of 6,469 last year in the south. The North Zone total of 8,935 wild turkeys compares with last year’s total of 8,652 in the north. During the 2006 record year, harvests were 6,530 in the south and 10,075 in the north. All results include harvest during the Youth Turkey seasons.
“Excellent hunting weather made for a strong start to the 2012 season, with a preliminary record of 1,300 wild turkeys harvested during the youth season,” said Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wild Turkey Project Manager. “High early season harvest and progression into the later part of the wild turkey breeding season contributed to harvest declines in the later part of the season. We are hopeful that the excellent spring weather this year will help turkeys rebound in some areas where populations have declined somewhat. The long term key in improving wild turkey populations will be habitat management, particularly for nesting and brood rearing habitat.”
The 2012 Spring Turkey seasons were April 9-May 10 for the South Zone and April 16-May 17 for the North Zone. Youth Spring Turkey Seasons were March 31-April 1 in the South Zone and April 7-8 in the North Zone.
The top five counties for wild turkey harvest in the South Zone were Jefferson (468), Wayne (386), Pope (380), Randolph (332), and Marion (331). Top five North Zone counties this year were JoDaviess (638), Pike (452), Fulton (404), Adams (366), and Macoupin (314).
The table below includes the preliminary 2012 county-by-county spring turkey harvest results with comparable totals for 2011.