Iowa’s 35-day five-segment turkey spring season ended on May 16. According to the Department of Natural Resources’ harvest report, a total of 11,680 wild turkeys were bagged in 2021, a decrease of nearly three thousand birds from the previous year’s harvest of 14,614 turkeys.
Turkeys were bagged in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties in 2021. A total of 411 turkeys were reported from Clayton County – the highest number counted for a single county. No turkeys were reported from Grundy County.
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In north central Iowa, all counties reported modest to significant decreases in 2020. A total of 129 turkeys were reported in Cerro Gordo County this spring, compared to 135 in 2020. 58 Eaters were caught in Winnebago County in 2021. compared to 67 in 2020. A total of 29 wild turkeys were harvested in Hancock County, compared with 43 in 2020.
In north-central Iowa, all counties reported modest to significant decreases in turkey bagged in 2020.
Lowell Washburn Special for the Globe Gazette
After the turkey harvest in the 2020 record book, the decline in this year’s spring hunt is no surprise. When the COVID-19 lockdown hit the country last spring, many unemployed Iowans suddenly had time. For many, spending time outdoors seemed like a better option than sitting at home for endless days. The turkey hunt is a loner here [physically distanced] In the form of outdoor recreation, more people – including many first-time visitors – hunted turkeys for more hours on more days than in previous years, resulting in a dramatically enlarged bag. According to DNR Conservation Officers, hunting pressures – especially on public areas – were unprecedented during the 2020 turkey season. This year’s spring season seemed to signal a return to normal.