2024 spring turkey season was one for the record books

Posted

      (SBA) - The final segment of Iowa’s spring turkey hunting season closed Sunday, ending the spring season with a record harvest of 16,059 birds reported, surpassing the 2023 record harvest of 14,843.

      Turkeys were reported from all 99 counties, from a high of 649 birds bagged in Clayton County to a low of three in Osceola.

      “We have turkeys in all 99 counties, but not all counties are equal. Most of the turkey habitat is in the eastern third of the state,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

      Iowa has had three straight years of good turkey hatches across much of the state, thanks, in part, to the long-term drought that benefited all ground nesting birds.

      “Two-year-old birds drive the population, and we have a large population of two-year-old birds,” Coffey said. “These are birds that do lots of the gobbling and tend to move more than the older toms and make up the bulk of the harvest.”

      Iowa’s five spring turkey seasons began April 5 with the youth only season, and ended May 12 with the conclusion of gun/bow season four and the archery only season. Hunters purchased more than 56,600 spring turkey tags across all seasons in 2024.

      The higher harvest wasn’t completely unexpected thanks in part to Iowans who participated in the DNR’s annual turkey brood survey that occurs each July and August. Iowans who see young turkeys in July and August are encouraged to report the birds through a link on the DNR’s website at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Turkey-Hunting/Wild-Turkey-Survey