The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 24, 2013

Cold weather slows down turkey total


DANVILLE — Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 14,133 wild turkeys during the 2013 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth seasons.

The 2013 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,941 in 2012.

Hunters took a state-record 16,605 turkeys during the spring season in 2006.

Youth hunters took a second-highest season preliminary total of 923 birds, down from the 2012 record of 1,300 turkeys harvested.

Four new counties were opened for spring turkey hunting in Illinois for 2013 — Ford, Douglas, Kane and Lake.

This brings the total of counties open for spring turkey hunting to 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties.

Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,494 wild turkeys during all seasons in the South Zone, a decrease from the harvest of 7,006 last year in the south.

The North Zone total of 7,639 wild turkeys compares with last year’s total of 8,935 in the north. During the 2006 record year, harvests were 6,530 in the south and 10,075 in the north.

“Many hunters commented on the cold and wet weather making hunting very difficult,” said Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wild Turkey Project Manager. “Breeding activity was delayed, and gobblers were not very responsive for much of the season.”

“Cold and wet springs are typically not good for turkey production, and we have experienced those conditions for six of the last seven years,” Brewer added. “The long term key in improving wild turkey populations continues to be habitat management, particularly restoration of open oak woodlands for nesting and brood rearing.”

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2013 were Jefferson (411), Pope (360), Marion (344), and a tie for fourth with Randolph and Wayne (333).

The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (552), Pike (396), Fulton (328), Macoupin (293), and Adams (290).

Vermilion County hunters harvested 122 birds compared to 157 in 2012.

Buffalo Gnats return to area

The Buffalo Gnats are back with a vengeance and I have plenty of bites to show for it. If anyone has any remedies for keeping them away, please let me know.

Imitation vanilla is supposed to keep them away and it does for a little while but it doesn’t last that long for me. I’m sure someone has something that will help.

Watch out for the Buffalo Gnats as they will bite on the arms, neck and they get me particularly under my hat band. These pests should be gone soon as their activity is limited to a few weeks.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: