NDOW Closes 2010 Fall Turkey Season

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Due to decline in turkey population numbers, low hunter success, and based on the recommendation of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners closed the 2010 fall turkey season at its meeting in Ely on Saturday.

"Turkey populations in areas that have traditionally had a fall hunt have experienced declines," said Shawn Espinosa, game biologist at NDOW. "Additionally, success during the fall hunt was relatively low last season (20-30 percent), and the number of hens being harvested is typically high for these hunts. In order to conserve adult hens and aid in population recovery, the closure of fall seasons was recommended."

The fall turkey season was started in 1991 and has usually run from early October through early November. The annual spring turkey season will still be held beginning in late March and running through early May.

Espinosa reports that the closure is not permanent and believes the hunt will be reinstated once the population numbers rebound.

"We make evaluations each year. If we see enough of a population increase and harvest numbers respond during the spring, then a fall hunt in 2011 may be possible," said Espinosa. "I would suspect that recovery may take a couple of years though and largely depends on weather and habitat conditions. A fall hunt in 2012 is probably more likely if we see a decent response in turkey populations."

Wild turkeys were first introduced to Nevada in 1960, but the program was not successful until the late 1980s when NDOW began releasing the Rio Grande subspecies of wild turkey. Since 1987, NDOW has released over 1,600 Rio Grande turkeys into various areas across the state as well as 187 Merriam's turkeys, mostly in eastern Nevada.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW's wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen's license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.