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Spring Turkey Harvest Fell 10 Percent in 2018
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/11/2018

Preliminary totals show turkey hunters registered 38,885 birds during the spring turkey hunting season in Wisconsin, a 10 percent decrease from the spring 2017 season.

Weather this spring played a significant role in the decreased harvest numbers. With much of the state covered in snow at the beginning of the season, we saw a steep decline in the number of turkeys registered during the Youth Hunt and Period A. The remaining time periods had similar harvest to last year, with a slight decline in Period F when record high temperatures were recorded throughout the state.

"Unfortunately, turkey hunters experienced less-than-ideal conditions during the Youth Hunt and first period," said Mark Witecha, upland wildlife ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "We saw declines in hunter participation in all zones early in the season, so it appears many were deterred by late winter weather that impacted the state."

A total of 138,544 harvest authorizations were awarded through the drawing and 74,237 were sold over the counter. Overall, there were 325 more harvest authorizations issued this season than in the 2017 spring season.

Starting in 2018, the fall turkey drawing has been waived. A fall turkey harvest authorization will be issued with every fall turkey or conservation patron license purchase. Hunters will choose a zone at the time of purchase for which their harvest authorization will be valid. Bonus harvest authorizations, formerly known as leftover tags, will be available for purchase.

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