From Pa Game Commission.
In 1968, the first spring gobbler season started on a Monday and ran only six days so biologists could get a pulse on hunter success and the season’s impact on the more than 60,000 wild turkeys inhabiting about half of Pennsylvania’s forestland at the time. It worked! More hunters were afield on the last day of the season – a Saturday – than the opener, and hunters took a total of 1,636 turkeys in the new season.
Comparatively, in 2011, preliminary harvests show hunters took 43,957 bearded wild turkeys in the spring gobbler seasons from an estimated statewide spring population of about 341,000.
Pennsylvania manages one of the most prolific wild turkey populations in America. It is an accomplishment that is directly related to both previous and ongoing research and management practices, the state’s outstanding tapestry of turkey-friendly habitats and the resiliency of Pennsylvania’s wild turkeys.
“The preliminary 2011 spring gobbler harvest (43,957) was the seventh highest preliminary harvest on record, and only three percent below the previous three-year average,” Casalena said. “This decrease most likely was due to the rainy weather throughout much of last year’s spring season and below average summer reproduction two of the last three years in many WMUs, both of which decreased gobbling activity.”
Recent spring and fall harvests are: 44,788 spring gobblers and 15,884 fall turkeys in 2010; 44,639 spring gobblers and 20,934 fall turkeys in 2009; 42,437 spring gobblers and 24,288 fall turkeys in 2008; 37,992 spring gobblers and 25,369 fall turkeys in 2007; and 39,339 spring gobblers and 24,482 fall turkeys in 2006. While the final 2011 harvest estimates won’t be available until this summer, the preliminary 2011 spring gobbler harvest was 43,957 and the preliminary fall turkey harvest was 17,017.