Harsh Weather Took Its Toll On Southeastern Montana Turkey Populations
By Matt Schauer

Posted: April 6, 2012

The Spring Turkey Season opens on April 14th and runs through May 20, 2012.  In Region 7, hunters can harvest two turkeys or one, in Region 7, and a second gobbler in another general hunting area.  Hunters can use a shotgun or long, recurve or compound bow. Rifle hunting is allowed only during the autumn season.

Even with a mild 2011-12 winter, Turkey numbers in the region are well below average.  A cold 2011 spring and flooding into July caused poor production in the area.  “Hunters should expect numbers and opportunity to be similar to the 2011 spring season,”  FWP Biologist Dean Waltee said.

Recent harsh weather took its toll on the turkey populations. The 2011-12 winter dropped over 24 inches of snow, that covered  most of the region for three months.  Gobblers struggle to find food in snow deeper then 8-10 inches.  Also, the past three springs brought late snow storms and heavy rain, which increased adult mortality.

There are fewer turkeys than normal in the Glendive area, but it remains the most productive, especially along the Yellowstone, downstream of town. It maybe hard to harvest a bird around Ashland Ranger District of the Custer National Forest, but they’re out there!  The early green-up conditions have turkeys spreading out across the region.

Get out there and start shooting that bow. Let’s hope for better production this Spring!

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