Fall Turkey Hunters Harvest 10,216

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Preliminary information shows hunters harvested 10,216 wild turkeys during the 2004 fall season that ran Oct. 9 through Nov. 7. Approximately 78,900 permits were issued for the 30-day season, for which there were approximately 90,800 applicants, with 76,600 receiving at least one permit, and 2,300 receiving two permits.

The harvest was down from the 2003 fall season when hunters took 12,466 turkeys. The estimated statewide hunter success rate was 12.9 percent, which was also lower than previous fall seasons, according to Andrea Mezera, acting Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologists. The largest number of birds harvested during the 2004 season were in turkey management zone 22.

While some hunters and members of the DNR turkey management committee have speculated the decrease in hunter success rates during the fall season may have been due to a cold, wet spring that resulted in poor turkey production, Mezera says DNR biologists don’t think the population was down significantly. Rather, they believe the lower fall success rates could be do to conflicts with other fall hunting opportunities.

To address that, Mezera said hunters can expect an extended fall turkey season in 2005. The fall season will begin on Oct. 1 and continue for 40 consecutive days.

“The fall season structure has been changed to include 10 additional days to the current 30-day season. This will allow hunters to enjoy an extended hunting season and increase their chances at bagging a bird,” she said.

Preliminary permit levels for the fall 2005 season have been set by the Wisconsin DNR Turkey Advisory Committee. Fall permit levels are currently set at 83,600 permits. Permit applications for the 2005 fall season will be due August 1.