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Tough times for turkey after tumultuous 2011 winter

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Montana’s wild turkey numbers are well below average this year, according to Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

FWP says this is due to the cool temperatures and record precipitation of spring 2011, combined with a couple of past years of heavy spring snow, spring rain and cold weather.

Observers in the Glendive area are seeing fewer birds than normal, but in general it’s still a relatively productive area—especially along the Yellowstone River downstream from the town.

In the area surrounding Jordan turkey production was fair. There may be a few more birds on the ground here than there were last year, but the hunting experience is expected to be similar to last year’s season.

In Forsyth and Miles City observers say while turkey numbers appear to have recovered slightly, but remain lower than average.

In the Ashland, Broadus and Ekalaka areas turkey numbers are also well below normal. Isolated pockets of birds remain the Ashland Ranger District of the Custer National Forest. Wildlife managers say birds are more likely to be found along riparian corridors. As the landscape greens up turkeys will disperse.

Montana’s spring turkey hunting season began April 14 and runs through May 20. Montana has a spring turkey gobbler season and an either-sex fall season. FWP reminds hunters that to transport any turkey taken during the spring turkey gobbler season, one leg and foot must be left naturally attached for evidence of sex.

Biologists are looking for improved turkey production this spring.

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