Here are all the 2017 spring wild turkey harvest/kill stats you could ask for from Wisconsin. The first chart is the kill by county, sex, and age. Scroll down for the number bagged by the number of hunters and continue scrolling down for all the harvests/kill from 1983 to 2016.
An interesting number 384 bearded hens were taken during spring 2017. Sauk County had the most, 20, bearded hens taken.
|Type of Turkey||Total (ALL)|
|Age of Turkey||Age of Turkey|
|County Of Kill||9||.||664||144||817|
|FOND DU LAC||10||.||667||166||843|
Below is the number of hunters who each bagged the number of turkeys.
Example from the chart 32,476 spring turkey hunters bagged one turkey each. 215 hunters bagged 4 turkeys each, etc.
|Bagged||By number of Hunters|
The historical number of permits issued, harvest and
permit success for spring turkey hunting, 1983-2016.
Well look at that….only a 45 total difference in the number of turkeys harvested in comparison to Missouri. That’s pretty cool. I noticed from the post that someone bagged 21 this year…any chance that was you, Charlie?
Here’s Missouri’s spring ’17 reports…(my total contribution was 1 gobbler, and I am proud of it haha).
Total Turkey: 43346
Total Adult Gobblers: 37193
Total Juvenille Gobblers: 5597
Total Bearded Hens: 556 (that comes out to 1/78 birds killed were bearded hens)
Top County: Franklin County (1053 turkey)
Bearded Hens are much more common place than I thought.
Thanks for adding your data JM.
I’d add some local to myself yet, unfortunately, have none available now.
Missouri beat WI by 41. I have not looked at all the states yet, but I think that puts MO at number one and WI at number two.
No, I’m a piker (one who does things in a small way) compared to, whomever the 21 is, I only managed to be number 2 this year. But, keep in mind this is not in anyway a competition to see who can kill the most. Rather, each hunter must personally derive satisfaction from their own hunting.
If I kill 21 turkeys in my entire lifetime I will be pleased with myself, haha. I do think I will easily surpass that number though at the steady rate of 1 per year :).
Take heart JM; I’m not a better turkey hunter than most other hunters, just reached a point in life where I can spend a lot of time hunting. This spring I was fortunate to log 58 days chasing turkeys. Nearly anyone who spends that much time going after turkeys is bound to get lucky and stumble into the right combination of circumstances.
Wow. I think I might actually get tired of it after 58 days of turkey hunting.
Towards the end, a certain delirium sets in, and folks around me hear muttering about; “they need to close the season to save me from myself.”
All rested up now, and all I can say is “Come ON FALL!” turkey dogging season can’t get here soon enough. By the time we get done turkey hunting Kansas on the 31st of January, I expect to have logged 100 days or more of fall hunting.
Woah, that’s a surreal amount of data generated tout suite by Wisconsin DNR!
What’s up with all those bearded ladies (err, hens) in Sauk County?! Must be something in the water. ; D I never would’ve figured there’d be 384 bearded hens killed this year out of an estimated 500K Turkeys present in the State.
You got it, a lot of data and thankfully that gives us something to discuss between seasons.
JM posted Missouri took 556 bearded hens. We keep trying to beat Missouri at something turkey. 😉
That’s a lot of hens being taken out of the population. Seems like a shame, to me.
@Charlie, You might beat MO in 2018. Reports say that 2016 was a down year(some say record low percentage wise) according to brood reports, but I do not think my local area will suffer…if anything the population is growing.
@HFT, I agree, but according to archives Missouri has killed more than 400 bearded hens for at least 5 years running, and many reports show populations still growing in most parts of the state. I think you and Charlie would be licking your lips and drooling like a dog about to get his dinner if you saw the number of turkey in the area where I live. Just a shame that I do not have the turkey hunting skills that you two possess.
It will be this year’s recruitment that will determine the number of turkeys for the spring of 2018. Has your spring been decent (not too wet or cold)?
Rainfall in WI this spring has been 6-12 inches above normal with temps 10-15 degrees below normal, a bad combination for all ground nesting birds. However, there are many reports of strutters with hens over the last couple of weeks. This is usually a good indication of renesting.
Someone told me Spring seasons are mostly a reflection of brooding rates from 2 years before…no idea on how much experience he had though. This spring has been “normal” aside from one week of really hard flooding rain, but MDC wont release brooding reports for awhile.
This year’s recruitment also determines the number of the best tasting turkeys this fall! I saw one hen yesterday with poults and another one today, about 15 miles apart. Today one poult flew a foot high for about 3 feet, that tells you how old it is. It’s rained 12 of the last 14 days. They survived all that rain solely due to the mother hens sheltering their featherless bodies. Some days it rained for 4 to 6 hours. Imagine a hen trying to shelter poults for that long, plus getting them enough to eat, and not getting eaten themselves.
Yeah, it’s a tough life being a turkey. They’re born to be eaten.
Among some of my acquaintances, we have an informal contest to see who can shoot the smallest turkey. In September the birds of the year are all white, including the drums, and fork tender. Best eating you can get from the fields and forests.
On this side of the state, we have had our rivers above flood stage 3 times during May and June covering nearly all the 27000 acres of WMA. That’s a lot of nesting area to be underwater. Good thing turkeys are resilient birds.
Poults can fly to roost 10 to 14 days after hatching. It don’t take long! LOL!
It’s been an ideal spring for nesting here in IA. Dry, with fairly warm temperatures. We’ve only had 3 or 4 measurable rains in the entire month of June.
I hear that – turkeys really do have it rough. I saw 3 hens with poults in the last 3 days, probably another 5 hens alone I couldn’t confirm. Amazing how they survived all this rain.
Last year the winner of our informal contest was just over 3 lbs. – there was a lot of 2nd and 3rd hatches. Those poults don’t even kee-kee, only whistle.
Stumbled on this mad mother this morning – turn up the speakers.
If you don’t mind that video can be embedded here.
Not to worry Hft; in the big scheme of things, the hen harvest is statically irrelevant. Other predators take much more over the course of the summer.
In the spring we chase beards, and in the fall we kill turkeys. Eighty percent of all turkeys are dead within two years whether we hunt them or not.
Very interesting, charlie. But I have to ask, what were you thinking, killing the only 2 turkeys in Menominee county? Gotta leave some to reproduce! ;-D
I couldn’t find a breakdown of our harvest numbers by sex and age, but the total number of turkeys killed in Iowa in spring ’17 was 11,779. The highest county was Clayton, with 551. That was about 150 more than the next highest county.
Jon Freis says
Charlie – do you suppose there’s just as many toms without beards as there are hens with beards? Would like to see the number of turkeys per hunter bagged in the fall compared to spring, Do you have last falls numbers by chance?
Your post prompted me to finish what I been thinking for some time:
…how 30,000 birds instantaneously communicate high-speed synchronous murmurations.
3rd Orange Row down – http://www.turkeydog.org/scratchings.html
I have never seen a beardless tom. I know they do occur, but I have to think that they’re quite a bit rarer than bearded hens.
Good question Jon. I have killed two beardless toms, both during fall hunts. One apparently never grew a beard and the other looked like it had been in a fight, losing his by force. Multi bearded toms seem to be more common, perhaps because spring hunters are looking for beards to confirm the legality of the bird.
A buddy wrote on this blog a few years ago about his triple bearded gobbler with a treble fish hook in its neck. The story is here- https://www.charlieelk.com/2013/06/17/treble-hooked-triple-beard-turkey-what/
No, I don’t have 2016 fall kill. I will request it with all the details and post it.