Can the 2022 spring turkey season prove 2021 was a fluke?
Illinois’s spring turkey season opens April 4 in the south zone and April 11 in the north zone. The application deadline for the third lottery is upon us (Feb. 9), but plenty of over-the-counter permits will be available come March 8.
The 2021 spring turkey season provided Illinois hunters with a glimpse of what hunters in other midwestern states have noticed in recent years — an obvious swing in the availability of birds.
Striking was the fact that the harvest dipped from a solid 15,831 turkeys in the spring of 2020 to just 13,383 last spring. More striking is the fact the state sold 78,361 permits last spring, a nice increase from the 73,847 in 2020. More hunters in the woods resulted in fewer turkeys in the bag.
Sometimes math just doesn’t add up.
The 2021 Youth Turkey Season harvest of 1,283 birds was a significant drop from the record 1,733 turkeys taken in 2020, despite the fact more youth permits were sold in 2021 (5.589) compared to 2020 (5,484).
A few more facts from the 2021 spring season:
- The permit success rate (not counting landowner permits) was 19%.
- Of the birds harvested, 78.3% were adult and 21.7% were juvenile.
- The sex ratio was 98.4% male and 1.6% female.