JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters shot 42,220 turkeys during Missouri’s regular spring turkey season. That is an increase of 1,773, or 4 percent, from 2012.
Top harvest counties during the regular spring turkey season April 15 through May 5 were Franklin with 996 birds checked, Texas with 879, and Callaway with 710.
This year’s spring turkey season was the safest on record, with only one firearms-related hunting incident reported. That incident was nonfatal and occurred during the regular season.
Hunting conditions were far from ideal, with frequent rain and below-average temperatures during much of the three-week season. In central Missouri, nighttime low temperatures averaged about 10 degrees colder than in 2012. The same weather station in Boone County reported approximately 1.5 inches more rainfall during this year’s spring turkey season than in 2012.
Jason Isabelle, a resource scientist who oversees turkey management for the Missouri Department of Conservation, says this year’s increased harvest is the result of both improved turkey production and hunters’ dedication.
“We knew from last year’s field surveys that wild turkeys had the second year in a row of good production,” says Isabelle, “so the outlook was pretty good going into the season. But you have to hand it to hunters for getting out there under some challenging conditions. That just goes to show you how much enjoyment folks get from spring turkey hunting in Missouri.”
Adding the harvest of 3,915 turkeys during this year’s spring youth season April 6 and 7 brings the 2013 spring turkey harvest to 46,135. This is 1,335 more than in 2012, a 3-percent increase.
County-by-county spring turkey harvest totals are available at mdc.mo.gov/node/263.
The Conservation Department’s First Turkey Program lets turkey hunters commemorate their first turkey kill with a certificate suitable for framing. You can even add a photo of the proud hunter with his or her bird. To create a first-turkey certificate, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/10469. The same site has forms for a youth’s first deer, as well as first deer/turkey certificates for adults.
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