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Vermont turkey hunters have record spring season

07/19/2007

Vermont's reputation for great spring turkey hunting is well known, but hunters have now topped all previous records with reports of more than 5,000 turkeys taken in the state's April 28-29 youth hunt and May 1-31 season. 

A preliminary count shows that Vermont hunters took 5,021 turkeys this spring, surpassing the previous record set last year at 4,649, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

"We still have license agents sending in reports of hunters who took turkeys, so the total will change before it is finalized," said Doug Blodgett, Vermont's lead wildlife biologist on wild turkeys. "This year's spring harvest set a new all-time record and Vermont hunters have had a record harvest in seven of the past 10 years."

"The tremendous success hunters have been having shows that the current Vermont turkey management strategy is working well," added Blodgett. "The current regulations emphasize quality spring hunting over allowing more liberal fall hunting opportunity. We know from recent public opinion surveys that there is a very high satisfaction level (90 percent) with the current season structure of Vermont's turkey program. With this kind of success, it's easy to see why."

Vermont's turkey population is now estimated at approximately 50,000 birds, representing one of Vermont's most successful wildlife restoration efforts. All of Vermont's wild turkeys originated from 31 wild birds that were live-trapped near the Pennsylvania border in New York in 1969 and 1970. Wild turkeys previously existed in Vermont until the mid-1800s and disappeared soon after.    

In addition to high quality spring hunting, Vermont also has fall hunting seasons for turkeys in most of its Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). A hunting license and turkey hunting license are required, and a hunter may take one turkey of either sex.      

An October 6-19 archery season is open in WMUs F1, F2, G, H1, H2, I, J1, J2, K1, K2, L, M1, M2, N, O1, O2, P, and Q. WMU H1 also remains open for archery hunting from October 20 through 26.

A seven-day shotgun season is open October 20 through 26 in WMUs G, H2, I, J1, J2, L, M1, M2, O1, O2, P, and Q.  

A 16-day shotgun season is open October 20 through November 4 in WMUs F1, F2, K1, K2, and N.  

Blodgett added that turkey hunting prospects in Vermont look very good due to spring weather being favorable for nesting success this year.  

For more information, contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-241-3700 or visit their website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com ).
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