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2006 Turkey Season a Success

July 10, 2006

The preliminary spring wild turkey season harvest numbers are in, and they indicate that Garden State hunters had another successful season. The preliminary harvest was 3,524 birds, which is 7.9% higher than last year's total of 3,264. This was the third highest harvest since 1981.

Most turkey hunting areas had increases in harvest. In southern New Jersey, turkey hunting area 16 saw an increase from 123 birds taken in 2005 to 160 birds in 2006. Turkey hunting area 20 saw an increase in harvest from 600 to 714 gobblers.

Turkey hunting area 2 was the notable area in northern New Jersey with an increase from 110 birds in 2005 to 198 birds in 2006.

Of the turkey hunting areas that saw a decline in harvest totals, none was significant.

In 2004, production was better than the five-year average. The birds hatched in 2004 were jakes for the 2005 spring season (the 2005 spring season harvest was composed of 40% juvenile birds). This same age class was two years old during the 2006 season. Two year old turkeys are vocal and vulnerable to spring harvest since their testosterone levels are high enough to keep them breeding throughout the season, and they have not gained as much experience and are not as wary as older birds. The high harvest in 2006 is likely attributable to these two year old gobblers that hatched in 2004, but data has not been analyzed as of now to confirm this.

Weather was generally good during the hunting season, especially during the first segment. Great weather on the youth turkey hunting day contributed to the youth day statewide harvest of 192 birds. This is the highest youth day harvest since the special youth turkey hunting day was initiated in 2002.

Final numbers for the 2006 spring turkey season will be released soon and will be posted on the this web site when available.

For more information about the Wild Turkey in New Jersey, and turkey hunting opportunities visit

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Last Updated: July 10, 2006