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Record 2005 spring wild turkey harvest

Indiana wildlife biologist Steve Backs has tabulated check station reports
from this spring's wild turkey hunting season and found hunters harvested
11,159 wild turkeys in 82 of the 88 counties open to hunting compared to
10,765 birds harvested in 2004. This four-percent increase over 2004 was a
new high for turkey harvests.

Counties with the highest wild turkey harvests were:

Switzerland - 478
Perry - 445
Jefferson - 415
Harrison - 406
Parke - 376
Orange - 373
Dearborn - 368
Warrick - 356
Greene - 352
Franklin - 347
Crawford - 329

The majority of the birds were harvested in the earlier part of the season
and during the morning hours. About 70 percent of birds were taken by 10
a.m. and 79 percent were taken by noon.

Approximately 57 percent of the wild turkeys were taken during the first
five days of the season and 37 percent of turkeys were harvested on
weekends. Juvenile male gobblers, commonly called jakes, made up 33 percent
of the harvest, while 44 percent of birds were 2-years-old and 23 percent
were 3-years-old or older.

The proportion of jakes in the harvest was higher than the mean average of
the previous ten turkey season harvests.

Backs speculated that the 4 percent increase in turkey harvests reflects
high turkey poult production during the 2004 summer brood season, and the
continued increases in both the turkey population and turkey hunter numbers.
Backs estimated 49,684 turkey hunters took to the woods in spring 1995, and
he estimates 22 percent of the turkey hunters bagged a Hoosier turkey.

The spring 2005 turkey season ran April 27 to May 15. Next year's spring
season runs April 26 to May 14.

Summary of Indiana's wild turkey hunting seasons, 1970-2004:

Turkey hunting safety tips:
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