Preliminary totals show Wisconsin turkey hunters registered 44,963 birds during the 2020 spring turkey hunting season, a 17% increase from the 38,576 birds registered in the 2019 season, the state Department of Natural Resources announced last week.

The 2020 youth season resulted in a total of 2,880 birds registered, up 47% from 1,953 in 2019. Harvest increased significantly across all zones and time periods compared to 2019 levels.

Although snow was persistent this winter in the northern half of the state, there were few long-lasting cold snaps, favorable spring brooding conditions in 2019 and late standing crops in many areas of the state, leading to a healthy and robust turkey population entering the spring season. Weather conditions were optimal for almost every period of the 2020 turkey season.

A total of 224,452 harvest authorizations were issued for the 2020 spring turkey season, a 5% increase from 2019, with 132,037 harvest authorizations awarded through the drawing and 92,415 sold over the counter.