MDC provides turkey hunting opportunity at several areas across southeast Missouri

News from the region
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. – Fall firearms turkey season is Oct. 1 to 31. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says turkey numbers are not as high was they were several years ago. In southeast region, which spans from St. Genevieve County down to the southern border of the state, turkey populations are best in the northern, higher ground, where habitat abounds.

“Spring rains can be highly detrimental to turkey poult production, as nests can be washed away, or young poults can die from hypothermia,” said Kyle Lorenz, MDC private lands conservationist. “A lot of what I am seeing and hearing in Perry county is that spring reproduction was average to below average. Pair that with low reproduction over the past couple of years, and I wouldn’t expect turkey hunting to be any different than last year.”

Some reports from Ste. Genevieve county are better, he said, indicating poult reproduction may have been slightly higher this spring than last.

“As for the region as a whole, I have heard mixed reports, but most landowners are experiencing a lower turkey population due to poor reproduction over the past several years, which is on par with the statewide trends,” Lorenz said.

In most of the state, turkey numbers are not as high as they were several years ago. Although Missouri’s turkey population remains strong, the effects of poor production in recent years will likely be evident during this year’s spring season. In addition to fewer 2-year-old gobblers, poor production in 2017 will result in fewer jakes this year. However, because of a favorable climate and good habitat, Missouri’s landscape can support high turkey densities. Therefore, even when turkey numbers are down, Missouri still offers great hunting.

Public firearms turkey hunting opportunity is available at several conservation areas (CA) across southeast Missouri, including Amidon Memorial CA, Apple Creek CA, Crowley’s Ridge CA, Holly Ridge CA, Magnolia Hollow CA and Maintz CA.  For other conservation area hunting opportunities with a list of allowable methods, see pages 52 and 53 of the 2018 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Guide.

“We strive to provide quality habitat on conservation areas, so everyone has an opportunity to hunt,” Lorenz said.

Turkey hunters can harvest two turkeys of either sex and both may be taken on the same day. Allowed methods include shotguns (including .401) with shot not larger than No. 4, longbows, compound bows or recurve bows of any draw weight, crossbows, atlatls, hand-held string-release devices, illuminated sights, scopes and quick point sights. A full list of prohibited methods is online at Fall firearms turkey hunting is not permitted in Dunklin, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pemiscot, and Scott counties.

Hunter education is required to purchase a firearms hunting permit in Missouri. For information on hunter education, including online hunter education, and how to purchase a hunting permit, go to