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

The 2020 youth season resulted in a total of 2,880 birds registered, up 47 percent from 1,953 in 2019.

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, the DNR said.

“The 2020 spring turkey season represents the highest harvest since 2016 and the second-highest harvest since 2010,” said Mark Witecha, Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. “Good weather and enhanced opportunity for hunters this season likely contributed some to increased harvest, but ultimately we continue to have one of the healthiest turkey flocks in the nation here in Wisconsin.”

The 2020 spring season started April 11 with the youth hunt. The regular season began April 15 and ran through May 26.