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June 11, 2001


For more information, contact:
Anthony McBride 908-735-8793

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, spring turkey hunters harvested a record number of birds in the Garden State. The five-week 2001 spring gobbler hunting season ended on May 25 with an estimated 3,125 gobblers harvested, a number surpassing the former record by almost 300 turkeys. The 2001 total represented a 9.6% increase over the 2000 harvest.

"Good turkey reproduction in 2000, excellent weather and increased numbers of turkey hunting permits are likely responsible for the record harvest," said Division Director Bob McDowell.

Turkey hunters experienced good weather conditions throughout the season. Especially noteworthy was the cool period during the fourth and fifth weeks of the season; a period when temperatures and humidity can be typically high.

Turkey hunters enjoyed a success rate of 23.6% during the opening week and an overall success rate of 18.6% for the season. Despite high amounts of snowfall this past winter, gobblers appeared to be in good condition according to check station operators who record average weights and beard lengths of the gobblers they check.

"Food availability and snow depth during the winter months can affect weights and beard lengths of wild turkeys, although winter weather this year did not appear to have a significant impact," said Division turkey biologist Tony McBride.

This year, for the spring gobbler hunting season, the permit allotment for each Turkey Hunting Area was divided into Private Land Turkey Hunting Permits and General Turkey Hunting Permits. By creating these separate permit types, an additional 6,470 permits were generated statewide for a total of 16,800 spring turkey hunting permits for the 2001 season.

Figures on harvest and success rates appear below. Information from the 2000 season is presented for comparison purposes.

Spring Gobbler Harvest and Success Rates

  1st Week Harvest 1st Week Success Rate Total
Success Rate
2001 934 23.6% 3,125 18.6%
2000 864 28.2% 2,847 18.3%