The Michigan DNR urges sportsmen to help it monitor turkey populations by participating in the new annual wild turkey brood survey.
From July 1 to Aug. 31, watch for turkey hens with young (a brood) or any other turkeys and fill out the survey with seven short questions to help us better understand how turkey populations are doing in Michigan. The more participation and reports we get, the better the data will be.
Visit the wild turkey brood survey website for more information. The survey will only be available during the open period between July 1 and Aug. 31. Please provide a valid email address when submitting observations in the survey.
The Michigan wild turkey brood survey is part of a multistate survey that is supported by the National Wild Turkey Federation. For questions about the survey or turkeys in Michigan, contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453) or DNR-Wildlife@Michigan.gov.
Youth under age 18 on the day of their hunt may apply March 20-31 for reserved youth turkey hunts on DNR properties during the youth turkey hunting season.
The 2023 youth turkey hunting season is April 22-23.
Interested youth hunters or an adult representing them must register in person or by phone during regular office hours for the property they wish to hunt.
More information about the participating properties and youth turkey hunt regulations is at http://bit.ly/3Zquj5y.
License applications for the 2023 spring turkey hunting season are available now through Feb. 1. Applications are $5 and can be purchased at any license agent, online at eLicense or through the new Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.
The season runs April 22 through June 7. For the breakdown on season dates and regulations see the 2023 Spring Turkey Digest. For questions about applying for a spring turkey license, call 517-284-WILD (9453).
By CASEY WARNER, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Hearing wild turkeys gobbling and clucking as you step out into the backyard early in the morning is common for many Michiganders now, but it wasn’t always so.
As we mark the annual holiday that revolves around turkey, let’s look back and celebrate these birds’ remarkable return from near extinction, often called one of the country’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories.
There are more than 6 million wild turkeys in the United States today, but seeing – or hearing – one was rare as recently as 50 years ago.
In Michigan, wild turkeys had been plentiful prior to the arrival of settlers, with an estimated 94,000 in the state at that time.
By the 1950s, Michigan’s wild turkey population had disappeared due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss.
Bringing turkeys back from the brink
Thanks to the efforts of a committed cadre of conservationists over the last 70 years, 200,000 wild turkeys now call Michigan home. They can be found in parts of every Lower Peninsula county and areas of the Upper Peninsula.
By 1965, the turkey population had rebounded enough that hunting was allowed. Today Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for number of turkey hunters, with consistently high hunter success and satisfaction rates.
Michigan’s spring turkey season is open in every county, and fall hunting is open in many areas of the state.
During the 2022 spring season, hunters harvested 12,531 wild turkeys in 91 of 92 Indiana counties. This spring’s harvest is only a 1.7% increase compared to that of the 2021 spring season. Like last year, only one county did not harvest any turkeys during this spring’s hunting season.
Spring harvests increased in 47 counties with seven counties exceeding 300 birds, compared to five in 2021. A total of 1,376 birds (11% of total harvest) were taken during the youth-only weekend prior to the regular season. The estimated number of hunters afield changed very little from 57,621 in 2021 to 57,459 in 2022, but estimated hunter success increased to 22% in 2022 compared to 21% in 2021 and 19% in 2020.
A detailed breakdown of spring harvest data, including previous seasons, is available on the wild turkey spring harvest data website.