Hunters Take More Than 10,500 Turkeys in Fall Season

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A preliminary harvest estimate shows Wisconsin turkey hunters harvested 10,591 wild turkeys this fall. This is just a slight increase compared to the 2004 fall season where hunters harvested 10,362 wild turkeys.

This fall, the statewide hunter success rate was about 12.4 percent, according to Andrea Mezera, an upland wildlife ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

“Although the harvest increased slightly, the success rate has been showing a drop off the last two years,” Mezera said. “Even though permits have been increasing as the population has been expanding in range and size, the fall harvest has not been showing an upward trend, as one would expect. One possible reason is that hunters have a lot of hunting opportunities in the fall, and turkey hunting is often incidental to other types of hunting such as archery and small game.”

During the fall season, all turkeys, male and female are legal for harvest. The fall harvest consisted of 37 percent males, 63 percent females, and less than 1 percent were registered as unknowns. Adults made up 60 percent of the harvest.

There were approximately 93,128 applicants for 85,400 available permits for the 2005 fall season, which was held October 1 through November 9. Permit levels increased by about 6,500 permits over the 2004 season, with nearly 82,000 hunters receiving at least one permit, and 3,500 receiving two permits.

Preliminary permit levels for the fall 2006 season have been set by the DNR Turkey Advisory Committee at 90,200 permits. This will be an increase of approximately 4,800 permits compared to the 2005 season. Permit applications for the 2006 fall season will be due August 1, 2006.