Spring turkey harvest up for fourth year in a row

News from the region
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The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reported that turkey hunters checked 43,991 birds during Missouri’s 2015 regular spring turkey season April 20 through May 10. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 897 birds checked, Texas with 858, and Saint Clair with 771. Young turkey hunters ages 6 – 15 years harvested 4,441 birds during the 2015 spring youth season, April 11-12, bringing the overall spring 2015 turkey harvest to 48,432.

The 2014 overall spring turkey harvest was 47,605 birds. The 2015 overall spring harvest is the fourth consecutive increase since 2011, when the combined youth and regular season harvest was 42,226. Spring turkey harvest totals by county are available at http://mdc.mo.gov/node/30565.

MDC recorded four firearms-related spring turkey hunting incidents during the 2015 regular season and none during the youth weekend. One of the incidents was fatal. Two involved shooters who mistook other hunters for turkeys.

Missouri’s turkey harvest continues to be among the highest in the nation. MDC restoration efforts from past decades have taken this popular game bird from the brink of extirpation in the state by the 1950s to an estimated sustainable population of more than 300,000 birds today.

In addition to permit sales revenue, economic estimates show that Missouri turkey hunters spend more than $125 million each year on travel, food, lodging and hunting equipment, which in turn generates millions in local and state sales tax revenue.

Turkey hunters can commemorate their first harvest by creating an MDC First Turkey certificate suitable for framing at http://mdc.mo.gov/node/10469.