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Arkansas Spring Turkey Harvest Down Compared to Previous Season

From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- Arkansas's unusually wet spring weather played a huge role in the state's turkey harvest. Most parts of the state suffered from epic floods that wreaked havoc with the state's hunters.

The 2008 spring turkey harvest reflected the hard times and was down from expectations, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's turkey program coordinator Mike Widner. 

"I had predicted that the 2008 spring kill would be similar to the 11,087 birds we checked in 2007, but I had no idea that weather would be so bad this spring," Widner said. "My memory isn't the best in the world, but I have to go all the way back to 1990 to remember a turkey season with as much rain and flooding on a statewide basis as we experienced this spring Below average temperatures the first week of turkey season, flooding and the closure of zone 17 to hunting undoubtedly reduced turkey harvest by hundreds of birds."
 
A total 9,724 turkeys were checked statewide this season compared to 11,069 turkeys during the 2007 season. That number was a 12 percent decrease from the 2007 spring season. The jake harvest was 20 percent in the spring 2008 season - down from 25 percent the previous year. A total of 779 turkeys were harvested during pre-season youth hunts, down from 889 in 2007.

 "On the bright side, the decreased harvest due to poor weather the past two spring seasons has helped us carry over additional gobblers during a time of continued poor turkey reproduction in most of Arkansas," Widner said. "Spring turkey harvests are not going to improve significantly, however, until we see above average reproduction for several years in a row like we saw in the late 1990s."

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