Turkey kill comparable to 2001 spring harvest
Altura, Minn. With just a few registration sites yet to submit their harvest totals for the 2002 spring turkey season, it looks like this year's final kill will be very comparable to the 2001 spring season.
DNR Wild Turkey Specialist Gary Nelson said that despite some very inconsistent weather, including strong winds, rain, and even limited snow, the 2002 spring season was a good one.
"We've received totals from approximately 90 percent of our registration sites," Nelson said Tuesday morning. "I'd say that we'll be right at, or slightly above, last season's harvest totals for the spring hunt."
During the 2001 spring season, 6,383 turkeys were harvested and Nelson said he'd be satisfied to get within "a couple hundred birds" of that total.
"I know we'll be over 6,000 turkeys for this spring," he said. "How much we go over has yet to be determined."
The central region of the state's turkey range showed an impressive jump in the number of birds harvested from last year. This area, more than any other, caught Nelson's eye when he started reviewing the season's totals.
"I was pleasantly surprised at the number of birds taken in the St. Cloud area," he said. "Harvest totals for Stearns and Wright counties were pretty impressive."
An encouraging part of the '02 hunt was the fact that there were no accidents reported. Especially since there were 1,200 more permits available this year than last. Hunting hours were extended until 5 p.m. for the first time.
"I don't care how many birds we take," Nelson said. "If nobody gets hurt, it's a good season."
The later closing time didn't appear to have much effect on this year's harvest totals. Most registration sites reported the majority of turkeys were harvested before the traditional noon closing time.
Nelson had a lot of feedback from turkey hunters, most of whom opted only to hunt the early morning hours.
"It just didn't seem like the added hours were that big of a deal," he said.
Nelson hopes to get a better grasp on the effect of adding five hours to each hunting day when he reviews the results of a turkey hunting survey sent out shortly after the season closed.
It was mailed to about 1,600 licensed hunters from this spring and it included questions concerning the later closing time and how many of the hunters surveyed actually took advantage of it. Survey results will be available later this summer.