Contact: Taylor Finger, DNR Game Bird Ecologist
Taylor.Finger@wisconsin.gov or 608-212-7923
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that preliminary totals show Wisconsin turkey hunters registered 39,007 birds during the 2022 spring turkey hunting season, a 5% increase from the 37,266 birds registered in the spring 2021 season.
The 2022 spring season started on April 16 with the two-day youth hunt. The regular season was divided into six separate one-week periods from April 20 to May 31. Different periods maximize hunter opportunities while minimizing interference for a more sustainable harvest.
For the 2022 youth season, there were 2,482 birds registered, down nearly 25% from 3,308 in 2021. This is likely due to the late onset of spring across much of the state, resulting in poorer hunting conditions during the youth hunt.
The DNR closely monitors harvest, hunter interference rates and satisfaction, and other information to track turkey abundance and maintain a successful, enjoyable, sustainable spring turkey hunt. Spring turkey participation spiked in 2020 when many people had time to pursue turkey while other events were canceled.
“Preliminary data suggest the number of people who purchased a harvest authorization after winning in the drawing is similar to last year,” said Taylor Finger, DNR Game Bird Ecologist.
A total of 220,026 harvest authorizations were issued for the 2022 spring turkey season, similar to 2021. In 2022, 142,091 harvest authorizations were awarded through the drawing process, and 77,935 were sold over the counter.
Though Wisconsin saw a mild 2021-22 winter, warmer spring temperatures and green-up came late statewide. Weather conditions were less than optimal for the 2022 season’s earlier periods but improved as the season progressed.
Zone 1 produced the highest overall harvest at 10,504 birds, followed by Zone 3 (9,918 birds) and Zone 2 (9,186 birds). Without correction for non-participation by hunters who bought a license but did not pursue birds this spring, the 2022 statewide success rate was 17.7%, compared to 16.9% in 2021.