Madison A high number of adult gobblers in the 2001 spring
turkey kill encouraged the DNR and the state’s turkey committee to
drop the preliminary number of fall turkey tags to 71,600, which is
still more than last year.
“We ended up cutting the fall tag number by about 3,000 permits
from the initial projection,” said Keith Warnke, DNR upland game
ecologist. “We were at 75,200, but we’re going with 71,600 fall
permits. That will still offer plenty of opportunity. Zones 40 and
41 will be open for the first fall season this year.”
Adult gobblers made up 80 percent of the 2001 spring kill.
“That’s the highest it’s ever been and that just gave us pause
to go back and be careful. We want to maintain quality turkey
hunting and to do that, we want a lot of adults out there in the
spring,” Warnke said.
Jakes usually make up 25 percent to 40 percent of the spring
harvest. This year, that number dropped to 20 percent and it could
be because of poor nesting success last year. However, there are
other factors to consider, as well.
“It could mean that productivity two years ago was excellent,
which is true, and that there were more adult birds out there
gobbling this spring, so more adults were shot than jakes. It could
also mean hunters are being selective,” Warnke said.
After the fall hunt, the DNR will look at the number of
juveniles in the kill.
“That will be another piece in the puzzle. Productivity this
year is not looking great. There was too much rain and cold in
early June, the same scenario as last year, and landowner brood
reports are down again,” Warnke said.
The turkey committee set preliminary tag numbers for the spring
of 2002 at more than 156,000 permits, the number issued this
“That won’t be set until December when we get in figures from
the fall hunt and look at juveniles in the fall harvest. We want to
keep our finger on the pulse making sure things keep going well,”