JEFFERSON CITY–Fortune smiled on young hunters during Missouri’s spring youth firearms turkey season April 9 and 10, enabling them to shoot an impressive 3,898 turkeys.
This was the second year in a row of warm, sunny weather for the youth season, encouraging hunters age 6 through 15 to spend plenty of time pursuing gobblers. This year’s harvest was nearly identical to last year’s figure of 3,945. Top counties for this year’s youth season were Franklin with 101 turkeys checked, Wright and Callaway with 77 each and Polk County with 75.
Male turkeys gobble most on warm, sunny days with moderate wind. Weather across most of the state closely matched this description this year, paving the way for an excellent hunt. Youth harvests prior to 2010 ranged from 3,894 in 2005 to 2,530 in 2001, the first year of the youth hunt.
The youth season provides an opportunity for adults to focus on mentoring young hunters. The impact on the state’s wild turkey flock is minimal, since the youth harvest usually accounts for approximately 5 percent of the annual harvest.