Raindrops fall, but turkey numbers rise for third straight season
A soggy end to the turkey season couldn't dampen lllinois' hunters, whose 15,719 total turkey take for the North and South zones came in well above last year’s count of 15,484.
“For the first two-thirds of the season, harvest trends were well above average,” Luke Garver, manager of the Wild Turkey Project for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). “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 South Zone season ran from April 3 to May 4 and saw hunters take 6,842 turkeys. The North Zone season started April 10 and ended May 11, with 8,877 turkeys taken. This year the DNR decided to run a two-weekend statewide youth season instead of one weekend season for both the North and South zones, leading to a record take of 1,541 turkeys.
Pope County was one of the best-performing counties in the South Zone, with 348 birds. Hunters from Johnson and Hamilton counties managed to take 264 and 252 turkeys, respectively. White County accounted for 169 birds of the total South Zone take, while Hardin had 134, Saline 123, Gallatin 112 and Messac 104.
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