"There is some oak mast up high, above 2,500 feet," he explained. "At lower elevations, it's spotty. It will have some impact on fall hunting, for sure. But at the same time, soft mast and beechnuts are pretty abundant, and that will offset the oak situation somewhat.
"Early in the season, especially if the weather holds and there isn't a hard frost, birds will be in the fields eating insects and grass seeds. After that, they'll be on dogwood, grapes and any blackberries that are still on the vine. They're also going to be hitting beech pretty hard, and also ironwood and ash seeds."
For the second consecutive year, the fall season will have a one-week break built into it. DNR officials in 2012 created a new firearm season for antlerless deer, and they decided to plop it smack in the middle of the turkey season.
There was some concern that punching a hole in the turkey season might reduce the harvest, but Taylor said the gap didn't appear to affect the kill at all, and the numbers bear him out.
The harvest total of 1,272 birds was actually a slight increase from the previous year's harvest of 1,186. Both figures were about average for the past 10 years, during which the autumn kill has ranged between 1,130 and 1,511.
The halcyon days of fall turkey hunting took place in the early 1980s, before bowhunting became all the rage. Today's harvests run about half what they did back then. Taylor believes the drop-off has happened largely because there are fewer fall turkey hunters.
"I think interest in fall turkey hunting has kind of gone by the wayside," he said. "Today's sportsmen look at it with a ho-hum attitude.
"Today, because game is so abundant statewide, people focus on one species a lot more than they did back then. Nowadays people go deer hunting or squirrel hunting or grouse hunting. Back then you just went 'hunting.' A lot of the turkeys killed back then were by guys out hunting for deer or squirrels or whatever. If turkeys happened by, they got shot."
The authors of the DNR's Hunting Outlook expect this year's fall turkey season to produce more birds than last year's.
"Last year 15 counties were open for a one-week season and seven counties were open for a two-week season," they wrote. "[This year] there are still 15 counties open for a one-week season, but there are now 13 counties open for a two-week season.
"Due to the larger number of counties open for a fall season and the poor oak mast conditions, we are predicting a higher fall turkey season harvest."