From Pennsylvania Game Commission
-- Preliminary reports show that hunters harvested 17,017 turkeys during the fall 2011 season, an increase from the final 2010 harvest of 15,884, but 23 percent below the previous five-year average, according to Mary Jo Casalena, wild turkey biologist.
She noted that final fall turkey harvest figures should be available later this summer when results of the 2011-12 Game-Take Survey are finalized.
“This decrease can be partially explained by below average summer reproduction across much of the state during the last three years due to cool, wet spring weather,” Casalena said. “We also have decreased fall turkey season lengths in some Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in response to lower turkey populations.”
Because fall turkey hunters may harvest any bird, the Game Commission manages the population by changing the fall season length. The longer the season, the higher the hen harvest, and, subsequently, the lower the breeding population next spring.
“From 1995 to 2001, we experienced record fall harvests because above-average turkey reproduction allowed for longer seasons, and there were more fall turkey hunters,” Casalena said. “The number of fall turkey hunters has declined since then partially due to a growing interest in fall deer archery and spring hunting. Since 2000 Pennsylvania now has more spring turkey hunters than fall.”