(KPLR) – Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt wild turkeys. Since restoration efforts began a little over 50 years ago, our state has become one of the top turkey hunting destinations in the country. Conservation Agent Jim Kuenzle talked with John Fuller about the spring turkey season, which is just around the corner.
Q. When does the season run this year?
- The regular season runs from April 21 through May 11
- The Youth Season for kids 6-15 years of age is this Saturday and Sunday
o A great opportunity to mentor a young person and introduce them to the sport
- There are also some new methods allowed this year—atlatls and crossbows
Q. What are the season limits?
- Two male turkeys or turkeys with visible beard may be taken during the season, with the following restrictions:
o You may only take one turkey during the first week (April 21-27)
o If you do not take one during the first week, then you may take two during the second or third week (April 28-May 11), but you may not take them both on the same day.
- For the Youth Season—one male turkey or turkey with visible beard
Q. So what’s the outlook for this year’s spring turkey season?
- 2011 and 2012 were good years for turkey production, but the 2013 hatch was down
- As a result, there will be fewer jakes available for harvest during 2014
- Since most hunters focus on mature gobblers, 2013’s hatch should not impact the 2014 spring harvest a great deal
- The improved production of 2011 and 2012 should result in an increase in the number of 2- and 3-year-old gobblers during the 2014 spring season
Q. You mentioned mentoring youth. This is also a great time to emphasize safety. What can hunters do to be safe out there?
- Observe basic safe firearm handling principles
- Pre-pattern your gun and know your range limits
- Don’t wear red, white, blue or black – colors that can be mistaken for turkeys
- Wear hunter orange when moving from place to place
- Positive ID – Don’t shoot until you’re certain of your target and what is beyond it
- Never shoot at sound or movement—always assume another hunter until you can clearly see the turkey’s head and beard
Q. Where can our viewer’s find out more?
- MDC website—MissouriConservation.org
- Pick up the Spring Turkey Hunting Booklet from an MDC office or permit retailer