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Near-record spring season for turkey in Indiana

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

-- The 2009 spring season harvest was Indiana’s second highest since modern-day turkey seasons began 40 years ago, exceeding the 2008 harvest by 789 birds.
Of the approximately 59,000 hunters who pursued wild turkey in the state this spring, 12,993 were successful. Wild turkeys were killed in 88 of the 92 counties open to turkey hunting during the regular season, April 22 to May 10, and the youth season, April 18 and 19.

A total of 978 birds—7.5 percent of the statewide harvest—were taken during the youth season, which is held before the regular season.

“Adult gobblers made up 81 percent of the total harvest. Many hunters reported not seeing jakes (juvenile males) this spring. The below-average reproductive success of 2008, especially in those areas that experienced extensive flooding during the brood rearing period of early June, was a contributing factor,” said Steve Backs, DNR wildlife biologist.
Backs said the reasons for the increased harvest number probably were a combination of general turkey population growth around the state and the steady increase in turkey hunter numbers.

“Lower production was most evident in the western portions of the state, especially west-central Indiana, where the only regional decline occurred. The south-central and southeast regions still account for more than 50 percent of the harvest. The harvest in the north region of the state continues to increase as those turkey populations grow, with several county harvests in the north taking over 200-plus birds,” Backs said.
Switzerland County topped the hunter success list with 530 turkeys, followed by Harrison (511), and Jefferson (447).

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