Turkey Numbers Slightly Lower

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Iowa's turkey population remained fairly steady from 2003 to 2004, but heavy spring rains had an impact on poult survival, according to the 2004 Turkey brood survey. The survey found the average number of poults with a hen was lower than last year, and was about 10 percent below the 10-year average.

A late, wet spring throughout much of Iowa was most likely responsible for the decrease in poult production, said Todd Gosselink, forest wildlife research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"The broods likely hatched before the heavy rains began, which would explain the increase in the number of hens with broods, but poult survival decreased after the hatch, most likely due to the rains," Gosselink said.

Turkey broods were reported earlier in the spring and poults seen in the early summer months were larger than what is typical for the time of year, which means the hatch was earlier in 2004.

"With all the heavy rains we had during the spring and early summer, the brood survey results were better than I had expected," Gosselink said. "I haven't heard anyone tell me they are having a hard time finding turkeys to hunt in Iowa."

The survey found the highest number of turkeys in southern Iowa, followed by east central and northeast Iowa. The largest increase was in western Iowa.

For more information, contact Gosselink at 641-774-2958.