Over the past several years, the Bluegrass State has consistently been recording jaw-dropping spring turkey harvest numbers. The commonwealth is absolutely crawling with these wild birds.
As a diehard hunter, it’s extremely difficult for me not to take a few sick days during the spring when Kentucky longbeards are puffed-up, fired-up, and ready to gobble. It’s a pretty safe bet that most gobbler addicts across our state feel the same way throughout the month of April.
On that note, let’s talk a little turkey and take an inside look at how Kentucky hunters faired this past spring. In addition, we will also breakdown the hottest harvest regions and counties of 2011, before finally taking a sneak peak at what the experts are forecasting for the upcoming season. All of this information should allow you to formulate a productive game plan that keeps you right in the middle of the April turkey action.
As mentioned earlier, overall turkey harvest numbers across the entire Bluegrass State have consistently been high each and every spring. However, factors such as weather conditions, hunting pressure, predator mortality, and previous hatch rates can all have a major impact on hunter success.
This is exactly why annual state harvest figures have a tendency of fluctuating from season to season. For instance, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recently reported that the 2011 spring harvest totals were slightly down from the record-breaking 2010 season.
According to Steven Dobey, the KDFWR turkey biologists, 2011 harvest figures fell 10.8 percent from 2010, when hunters checked-in a staggering 36,097 birds.
“A slight decline in overall spring harvest numbers was entirely expected due to the historic statewide rainfall amounts that were observed from April to May,” Dobey noted. “At the conclusion of the 2011 season, I was very surprised to see that hunters still tagged 32,191 turkeys. Despite poor weather and bad hunting conditions, this was actually the second highest spring turkey harvest on record, which is very impressive.”
Consequently, Dobey attributed last spring’s high harvest numbers to the state’s resilient and healthy turkey flock, along with the persistence and determination of hunters across the commonwealth. Furthermore, the Bluegrass State is loaded with excellent turkey habitat and countless acres of public land.
Inevitably, all of these factors are why Kentucky continues to generate high harvest numbers every spring.
With that being said, let’s take a quick look at some of the specific regions and counties that were red-hot and full of turkeys last season.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve been blessed with a flourishing turkey population across every corner of the state and all points in between. However, there are several counties that routinely dominate the commonwealth when it comes to high harvest numbers. For the most part, these counties rank at the top every year, because each one encompasses ideal turkey habitat and consistent food sources.
The following counties led the state in total harvest last spring, and these same areas are expected to have repeat performances again this year. More than likely at least one of these counties is located within a short drive from your home.
Counties of the renowned Green River Region filled the first five slots at the very top of the state’s turkey harvest list. Hart, Logan, Hardin, Grayson, and Muhlenberg counties led the entire commonwealth last season.
The Bluegrass Region’s Owen County took the No. 6 spot and Breckinridge County of the Green River Region came in seventh. In the Southeast Region, Pulaski and Wayne counties filled the eight and nine slots, with some very impressive numbers. Finally, Crittenden County of the Purchase Region finished out the top 10 harvest list.