NASHVILLE --- The statewide spring turkey season is set to open in Tennessee and the 2009 outlook is very promising for gobbler hunters, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Tennessee's turkey restoration project has proven to be a success since it was implemented.
After years of record harvests which peaked with the number harvested in 2006, the numbers have decreased each of the past two years. However, sportsmen can take comfort that there is no evidence of decline in the state's turkey population. "The typical Tennessee spring harvest consists of just fewer than 90 percent mature gobblers and about 10 percent jakes which tell us that our turkey population is healthy," said Gray Anderson, TWRA Turkey Program Coordinator. "Our summer brood surveys in 2007 and '08 were in line with our long term average which is good given the 2007 drought.
Given the good brood production in 2007 and the recent mild winters, there is expectation we will continue excellent gobbler harvest." Another contributing factor to the lower numbers was inclement weather each of the past two years on the opening weekend. In 2007, there was the record cold spell and last year there were storms throughout the state. Tennessee's 2009 statewide spring turkey season runs from Saturday, March 28 through May 10. All Tennessee counties are open to wild turkey hunting including Wildlife Management Areas and refuges unless specifically listed. For specifics, sportsmen should check the 2008 Tennessee Hunting and Fishing Guide which is available at any TWRA Regional Office, license agent or online at www.tnwildlife.org.
The statewide young sportsman hunt was March 21-22 with 992 turkeys reported harvested. Greene County was the top harvest county with 39 turkeys while Dickson County, the top county for the spring season overall last year, was second with 31 and Giles County was third with 30.