Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 5

Jacob Dingel

three years, compared to a 201416 average of 16 to 18 percent. But
increased success likely is a direct
result of declining participation and
the experience participating veteran
hunters possess.
Turkeys taken with a second tag
accounted for 13 percent of the total
spring harvest compared with the previous three-year average of 11 percent.
Forty-three percent of hunters with
a second tag filled it. The previous three-year-average was 52
percent.
"Since 2016, second harvests have comprised 10 to
13 percent of the overall
spring harvest," noted
Casalena.
As was the case in
2018, and all other years,
only 6 percent of the 2019
harvest was taken during
afternoon hours provided
to hunters over the spring
season's second half. Also identical to
2018 was afternoon success: 19 percent
of the season's second-half harvest
occurred after noon, and most of those
birds were taken after 5 p.m.
When last spring's slight harvest
decline is married up with 2019's light
fall harvest, fewer fall turkey hunting
days, at least average reproduction in
many WMUs, and other positive influences, it sets the stage for a 2020 spring
season that is flush with opportunity.
"Although the coming season will
offer exceptional hunting, I expect the
2020 spring harvest to be a bit lower
than 2019's, because the population has
fewer 2-year-olds, the most vocal and
harvestable of any spring's gobblers,"
Casalena noted. "But there are still
plenty of older, warier gobblers.
MAY 2020	

"These gobblers might test a hunter's
experience, so patience and strategy
may pay dividends in the battle to outsmart one."
About 172,355 hunters participated
in the 2019 spring turkey season. From
2017 to 2019, the average annual
number of spring turkey hunters was
171,700. In the prior three-year period,
hunter participation averaged 220,600.
"In a way, it's tough to swallow the
recent decline in spring turkey hunters,"
Casalena noted, "because the resource
can accommodate more hunters.
"But those who go are enjoying
some of the best spring gobbler hunting
they've ever had in Penn's Woods. Now
is not the time to stay home!"

TURKEY TRENDS

This spring, Casalena estimates
Pennsylvania's turkey population
essentially will mirror 2019's. The
state's highest-known spring turkey
population was 280,000 in 2001. It
was a population Casalena said was
due to a turkey population explosion
following trap-and-transfer work and
excellent annual recruitment. Also beneficial were favorable spring weather,
high-quality nesting and brood-rearing
habitat and a reduction in predators
caused by a rabies epidemic.
But the 2020 spring turkey population estimate comes with a need to
provide additional clarification.
"Regionally, turkey populations are
down compared to the previous 10-year
average in about half of our WMUs,"
Casalena explained. "Compared to the
previous three-year average, turkey
populations are down in 14 WMUs and
have improved in nine."
Casalena discussed some of the
factors that might be influencing these
5



Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 7
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover4
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