Illinois Turkey Hunters Had Successful Season

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Hunters in Illinois bagged a preliminary statewide total of 15,792 wild turkeys during the 2008 Spring Turkey Season, the second-largest spring turkey harvest ever in the state.

Hunters harvested a statewide preliminary total of 15,159 wild turkeys during the regular seasons conducted April 7-May 8 in the South Zone and April 14-May 15 in the North Zone. An additional 633 turkeys were harvested during the Youth Turkey Seasons conducted March 29-30 in the south and April 5-6 in the north.

"We are very pleased with this year's spring turkey harvest," said Paul Shelton, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Forest Wildlife Program Manager. "The South Zone started out slowly in cool, rainy weather, but improved over the course of the seasons and finished with the largest fifth-season harvest ever. In the North Zone, conditions were generally favorable for turkey hunting, although cool weather and heavy rain on the final Sunday during the fifth season dampened results slightly."

This spring's preliminary wild turkey harvest in the South Zone was 6,287, compared with 6,125 last year. In the North Zone, the preliminary wild turkey harvest was 9,505, compared with 8,641 last year. The total statewide spring turkey harvest in 2007 was 14,766. Illinois' largest spring turkey harvest was the statewide total of 16,605 in 2006. Hunters in Illinois took 15,422 turkeys during the spring of 2005 and 15,538 in 2004.

The top five South Zone counties for spring turkey harvest in 2008 were Marion (347), Randolph (344), Pope (329), Wayne (303), and Jefferson (299).

The top five counties in the North Zone for spring turkey harvest in 2008 were Jo Daviess (568), Pike (552), Adams (507), Fulton (415), and Macoupin (399).