Missouri's October Turkey Season

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 9, 2010

reds and yellows please the eye. Even if you don’t hear or see a turkey, sitting in the woods on a beautiful fall day is a reward in itself.

The season is long, and you can hunt all day or even after work if you have a nearby hunting spot. Don’t forget to use your time in the woods to scout for game. While listening for turkeys calling from the roost at dawn, for example, you might hear quail whistling and get a bead on covey locations. While walking through the woods, you might notice a pond that wood ducks are visiting or run across some buck rubs and scrapes.

October is a busy month for many hunters. Spreading fall turkey season over the entire month of October, and allowing hunters to kill their season limit of two birds in one day, enables hunters to enjoy fall turkey hunting without having to sacrifice their other favorite fall pursuits. The all-of-October season provides more opportunity for hunters and makes the best hunting month of the year even better.

Safety

All turkeys are legal game in October. A hunter walking through the timber making realistic turkey calls sounds just like what the hunter around the next draw is hoping to shoot—a turkey. If the caller on the move is in full camouflage, the hunt could end tragically.

Hunter-orange prevents accidents in which a hunter is mistaken for game. When up and moving in the turkey woods, always wear a hunter-orange cap to let other hunters know you are not a turkey. When you set up to call, stow the orange hat and put on your camo hat, face net and gloves. If you bag a turkey, wear your hunter-orange cap—and an orange vest if you have one—as you carry the bird out of the woods.

Two-day Turkey Hunting Plan

Scout before hunting to learn where turkeys are feeding in the evening and where they tend to roost. Pick a quiet late afternoon and enter the timber making as little ruckus as possible. Call sparingly to turkeys as they travel to roost. If you fail to call in turkeys, listen carefully. You should be able to hear wing beats as turkeys fly to roost. When the turkeys are in the trees, walk into the area and scatter them. Often they fly in all directions.

In the fading light, find a good place to call from at the roost site and then return in the morning. The turkeys, even gobblers, often call and reassemble quickly first thing in the morning.

Turkey for the Table

One of the greatest rewards of fall turkey hunting is the food you harvest. There is not a wild creature in Missouri that makes a better main course. You may at first be disappointed at the amount of meat in a juvenile hen turkey compared to what you get from a mature gobbler, but the meat is tender and succulent. Young hens weigh 6 to 8 pounds, and jakes weigh up to 12 pounds. Either provides enough breast meat to feed a family of four or five for a meal.

One way to get more meat out of a young bird is to make use of the bird’s thighs and legs. This simple recipe converts any tough turkey meat into good eating.

  1. Cut the thighs and legs off the turkey, then cut the thighs from the legs.
  2. Put the thighs and legs in a slow cooker, cover with three cans of cream of chicken soup and three cans of milk and cook on low for eight hours.
  3. Remove legs and thighs from crock pot and drain. Let meat cool and remove from bones and tendons. Tear into small strips.
  4. Prepare two packets of chicken gravy per directions.
  5. Stir meat into gravy and heat.

Spoon the meat-rich gravy over mashed potatoes and serve with corn, green beans, biscuits and pumpkin pie for a delicious meal. 

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