Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
Iowa turkey hunters harvested 12,173 gobblers during this year’s five-part spring hunting season which ended May 22. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the harvest represents the largest number of spring turkeys bagged since hunters were first required to report their harvest beginning in 2007. Nearly 51,000 licenses were issued for the 2016 spring seasons.
Hunters enjoyed their greatest success in the timber rich counties adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River and in counties along southern Iowa’s Missouri border. The highest harvest occurred in extreme northeastern Iowa where 410 gobblers were reported from Allamakee County and 583 gobblers reported from Clayton County. Wild turkeys were bagged in private and public woodland areas statewide; Grundy County was the only Iowa county reporting no [zero] harvest.
Hunters in Cerro Gordo County reported a harvest of 117 gobblers; the highest bag for North Central Iowa. A bag of 102 birds was reported from Worth County, 54 gobblers from Winnebago County, and 30 from Hancock County.
In spite of their apparent abundance, wild turkeys remain Iowa’s most wary and challenging game species. During the past ten years, less than one in four hunters has been successful in bringing home a turkey dinner.