Young hunters checked 4,332 turkeys during Missouri’s youth turkey hunting season April 12-13, topping the 4,000 mark for the second time in the youth season’s 14-year history.
Top counties in the youth season were Franklin with 107 birds checked, Cedar with 96, and Webster with 92. The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded one nonfatal hunting incident during the weekend hunt.
Conservation Department Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle says the strong youth season harvest can be attributed partly to the carry-over of adult gobblers resulting from good turkey reproduction in 2011 and 2012. Favorable weather throughout much of the state during the mornings of the hunt also helped.
Missouri’s only other 4,000-plus youth season harvest was in 2012, when young hunters checked 4,319 turkeys. Hunters age 6 through 15 are allowed to take one male turkey or turkey with a visible beard during the youth hunt. Those who do take a turkey during the youth hunt may not take a second bird until the second week of the regular spring turkey season.
The 2014 regular spring turkey season runs April 21 through May 11. For more information, get a copy of the 2014 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet where permits are sold or visit mdc.mo.gov/node/4051.
The Conservation Department’s First Turkey Program is a great way to memorialize a hunter’s first successful hunt. The program provides a free commemorative certificate suitable for framing. You can even add a photo of the proud hunter with his or her bird. Creating a tangible reminder of a once-in-a-lifetime experience begins with visiting mdc.mo.gov/node/10469. The same site has forms for a hunter’s first deer for youths or adults.