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Spring wild turkey harvest up in Wisconsin, Minnesota

Minnesota hunters bagged more birds during late season than ever before.

wild tom turkey
Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs report that spring turkey hunters bagged more birds this year than last, with an unusually high number of birds shot in late seasons — probably due to cold, wet weather during April early seasons.
Contributed / Michigan Wildlife Council
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DULUTH — Spring wild turkey hunters in Wisconsin and Minnesota had good seasons, with Wisconsin’s harvest up 5% from 2021 and Minnesota's up nearly 2%.

In Wisconsin, hunters bagged 39,007 turkeys, which will likely end up among the highest totals of any state in the nation. Without correcting for hunters who bought a license but did not actually hunt, the 2022 statewide success rate was 17.7% compared to 16.9% in 2021.

In Minnesota, hunters bagged 12,290 turkeys, up from 12,065 last year and the second highest harvest ever, behind only 13,991 birds registered during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in 2020.

Because of unusually cold and wet spring weather this April, early season success was down in Minnesota. But the number of birds bagged in the last season, at the end of May, jumped nearly 36% from 2021 and was nearly double the late-season harvest in 2019.

“The biggest difference between this year and previous years was a shift in harvest towards the F season. Weather during A and B were bad for hunting but it seems folks made it up during the F season,’’ Tim Lyons, upland game research scientist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, told the News Tribune.

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Lyons noted the harvest remains well above (21%) the level of 2019, the last year hunters had to apply for a limited number of permits during the popular A and B early seasons. Some hunters have speculated that the new licensing system, initiated in 2020 and allowing hunters to hunt in any season and in any location of the state, will result in an overharvest of turkeys.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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