Illinois youth turkey hunters enjoy record harvest of more than 2,000 birds


Hunters harvested a state-record 2,006 wild turkeys during the Illinois youth turkey hunting season. | Photo courtesy USFWS

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois turkey hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,006 birds during the 2024 youth season, breaking the previous harvest record of 1,733 set in 2020.

The dates for this year’s season were March 30-31 and April 6-7. A total of 6,001 youth turkey permits were issued this year, compared to 5,283 in 2023 when a total of 1,297 turkeys were harvested.

The top five counties for harvest during this year’s youth season were Randolph, 71; Fayette, 66; Jefferson, 63; Marion, 62; and Pike, 54. A preliminary total of 160 wild turkeys, or 8% of this year’s harvest, were taken on public land.

In West-Central Illinois, hunters harvested 49 birds in Adams County, 35 in Brown County, 26 in Calhoun County, 28 in Hancock County and 22 in Schuyler County.

The Illinois spring turkey season opened Monday in the North Zone, which includes all counties in West-Central Illinois. The spring turkey season is split into five individual seasons — first season runs April 15-19, second second runs April 20-25, third season runs April 26-May 1, fourth season runs May 2-8 and fifth season runs May 9-16.

Over-the-counter permits can be purchased through local permit and license vendors. For more information on the spring turkey season and available permits, visit the IDNR website.

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