As we turn the calendar page to April, Missouri turkey hunters are thinking of the spring seasons that open this month. The youth season is April 10–11 and the regular spring season is April 19–May 9. An indispensable item for the informed turkey hunter is the annual spring booklet that details turkey hunting regulations. The 2010 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklets are available online and at permit vendors statewide.
A new feature in this year’s booklet is a table in the back of conservation areas statewide where spring turkey hunting is allowed. It is similar to the table that has appeared in the fall deer and turkey hunting booklet for several years. The conservation areas are organized by region and regulations are summarized for each area. Now is a good time to scout those areas for turkey sign and for places to set up on opening morning.
Because shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise each day of the seasons, the sunrise table on page 5 will help keep early rising hunters legal. I write down the start time on a slip of paper each time I hunt and carry it in my pocket as I walk into the woods in the early morning darkness. Your memory may be more reliable than mine when you need to know that time. Start times will be a minute or two different each day, with sunrise coming earlier as the season progresses. During the youth season, young hunters may hunt until sunset but shooting hours during the regular spring season end at 1 p.m. each day.
Other important information in the booklet is the explanation of how to tell hens from gobblers, how to tell adult gobblers from juveniles, and how to use the Telecheck System to report harvested birds. A season forecast and safety reminders also make for good reading.