Workshop series at Henges Shooting Range aims to improve turkey hunting skills

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HIGH RIDGE Mo -- The 2012 spring turkey season runs from April 16 through May 6 with the spring youth turkey season running March 31 and April 1. The Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is offering a series of workshops during the month of March to help hunters get more out of the upcoming spring turkey season. These include special presentations by the state’s turkey biologist, turkey calling and hunting techniques, and shotgun patterning.

“We’ve got a great line-up of turkey workshops,” said Henges Shooting Range Supervisor Jake Hindman, “and we’re excited about it.”

The first in the sequence of turkey hunting programs at the Henges Shooting Range is the Wild Turkey Management Workshop happening Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 pm. The workshop features an evening with MDC State Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle. “It’s an opportunity for turkey hunters to visit with our state biologist who manages the state turkey population,” said Hindman.

Isabelle will cover such topics as the history of the wild turkey in Missouri, habitat needs and harvest trends in the Show-Me State. He will also reveal strategies behind managing Missouri’s wild turkey populations. “It’s not every day you get to talk to the guy responsible for one of the top wild turkey populations in the country,” Hindman added.

On Thursday, March 15, from 6 to 8:30 pm, the Henges Range will present the next program in the series, the Turkey Hunting and Calling Workshop. Participants will learn how turkey calling can be used as an effective hunting tool, and see how calls can be applied in real-life hunting situations. The workshop will also explore other practical turkey hunting tips.

Finally, hunters will have a chance to prepare their firearms during the Shotgun Patterning for Turkey Hunting Workshop on Monday, March 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. “It’s our responsibility as hunters to make a quick, clean, ethical harvest,” Hindman pointed out, “and part of that responsibility is knowing what your firearm will do.”

This hands-on program will educate hunters on the most efficient choke and shot shell loads for pursuing wild turkeys. The workshop will also address how to evaluate effective shotgun range for harvesting a turkey, along with helpful shot sizes. Ammunition will be supplied and activities will include time on the shooting range to demonstrate gun patterning.

Each of the turkey hunting workshops is free and open for participants ages 11 and up. Advanced registration is required and can be done by calling the Henges Shooting Range at 636-938-9548.

The Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is located off I-44 at the Antire Road exit in High Ridge.