Wisconsin’s preliminary 2014 spring wild turkey harvest or if you prefer the number of gobblers killed during the spring of 2014 hunt:
- Unit 1 – 12,147
- Unit 2 – 10,313
- Unit 3 – 10,490
- Unit 4 – 5,727 (OTC permits were unnecessarily cut 25%)
- Unit 5 – 2,000
- Unit 6- 541 (OTC permits were unnecessarily cut 25%)
- Unit 7- 354 (OTC permits were unnecessarily cut 25%)
- FM- 86
Statewide Total- 41,659
If WDNR had not cut the OTC permits Wisconsin’s turkey hunters would have had more opportunity to hunt in what was one of the best turkey springs ever.
2014 Wisconsin spring turkey hunters will find more 2-4 year old gobblers and fewer jakes than in past spring turkey hunts. 2012 spring recruitment was excellent due to near perfect spring nesting conditions. 2012 Fall hunters regularly encountered large numbers of jakes of the year. There is no reason to think many of these birds died off making them 2 year olds for spring 2014 hunt. All of the negative news stories could take a toll on hunter attitudes and suppress their efforts. For those hunters that do not let that negative narrative discourage them and go out hunting will find a spring woods with more mature gobblers than ever before.
According to active spring turkey hunters, there were more encounters with mature gobblers this spring than in any previous year. The bad news is the small number of jakes due to the low recruitment in spring 2013. What is most irritating to veteran turkey hunters who understand the population dynamics of turkey populations was having the number of permits cut during a year of unusually good gobbler numbers.
What about spring turkey season 2015?
Of course, it depends on spring 2014 recruitment numbers and so far that is looking good. Even though spring temperatures have been 10-15 degrees below average rainfall has been moderate with no snowfall to speak of. Cool temps have reduced springtime insect numbers a valuable high protein food source of freshly hatched poults. Warmer temps are better than cooler temps for wildlife, especially birds. A couple of weeks ago while hunting, I found the first poults of the season and even if they don’t survive due to early hatching their hen will have plenty of time to re-nest. Usually, during the last two Wisconsin turkey seasons gobblers are forming into summertime bachelor groups. Not so this year, reports of henned up gobblers right to the last day of hunting season were common. Indicating either the hens are re-nesting or due to cooler temps causing a late snow melt are breeding later.
Early 2015 spring turkey hunt thoughts
- If 2014 recruitment is good with fall hunters finding a large number of birds of the year, then the 2015 spring hunt will feature few adult gobblers and plentiful numbers of young jakes.
- If 2014 recruitment is poor, well then be ready for some tough 2015 spring hunting.
- Wild turkeys live about two years whether you hunt them or not. Meaning most of the spring 2014 “surplus” gobblers will not be alive come spring 2015.