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Illinois public lands are now open for the spring season for wild turkey hunting

Last updated on April 18, 2021

Wild turkey hunting season in Illinois is underway through May 4, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said public lands are open for hunting.

Luke Garver, Illinois’ wild turkey project manager at the IDNR, said that in spite of the harsh winter, there are plenty of wild turkeys waiting to be harvested. Unlike last year when public lands were shut down for hunting because of the pandemic, this year IDNR and the governor’s office have given hunters the go-ahead to hunt this year.

“All the public land is back open again, so that should add to the harvest total,” Garver said.

Last spring, hunters harvested a stunning 15,800 wild turkeys in Illinois, Garver said.

“A lot of people were stuck at home because of the pandemic,” Garver said. “People had more time for wild turkey hunting. And a lot of people gave the sport a chance for the first time.”

Garver said spring wild turkey season is now more popular than traditional fall turkey season and he thinks it is because the mating season makes spring turkey hunting more interactive and fun. Garver said that using turkey calls that mimic the noises that turkey hens make, hunters can lure the males out in the open.

“The spring season is a really interactive hunt. You know most of the time that the male is out there. He’s calling back to you and you have this conversation back and forth, trying to convince that turkey to come in range of you. It’s a great time,” Garver said. “Get a call and make some noise with it. A little patience, patience is the big thing, and a little practice and you’ll bring in a bird.”

Garver said he never takes it for granted that he has turkey hunting figured out.

“They always surprise me – sometimes good and sometimes bad,” Garver said.

Even people who have never hunted before can get out in the woods with a shotgun or a bow and have fun. Garver said INDR has improved the online lottery application process for permits. He said INDR has made it easier than ever for hunters to go online to secure permits.

This article was originally posted on Illinois public lands are now open for the spring season for wild turkey hunting

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