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Foul weather hampers fowl harvest
Nonstop rain may have helped hold down the number of gobblers killed during the first week of Missouri’s spring turkey season.

JEFFERSON CITY-Weather during the first weekend of Missouri’s spring turkey season was foul for the second year in a row, and for the second year in a row the first-week turkey harvest was down.

Hunters checked 24,748 turkeys April 24 through 30. That is down 1,238 or 5 percent from last year. The record first-week harvest occurred in 2004, when hunters checked 29,018 turkeys.

Top first-week turkey harvest counties were Callaway and Franklin with 476 each, Ste. Genevieve with 460 and Texas with 456. Regional harvest totals were: Central, 4,008; Northeast, 3,684, Southwest, 3,258; Ozark, 3,066; Kansas City, 3,061; Northwest, 2,940; Southeast, 2,629; St. Louis, 2,103. Juvenile male turkeys made up 20 percent of the first-week harvest.

Historically, the first week of the three-week season has accounted for approximately half of the total spring harvest. Hunters usually check 15 to 17 percent of the season total on opening day. This year’s opening-day harvest was 8,860. Based on these past trends, Conservation Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer said this year’s harvest could be between 46,000 and 52,000 birds.

Beringer predicted a below-average harvest before this year’s season opened. He made the same prediction last year based on the same factor-below-average turkey reproduction from 2003 through 2005.

Weather also might have held down both the 2005 and 2006 opening week turkey harvests. Hunters encountered hard frosts, high winds and heavy rain during the first weekend of the 2005 spring turkey season. This year rain fell almost nonstop over much of the state during the first weekend of the season.

Missouri’s spring turkey season opens on the Monday nearest to April 21 each year. The Monday opener limits the number of hunters who can be in the woods on opening day. By the time the first weekend of the season rolls around, thousands of hunters (almost 19,000 this year) already have killed turkeys and can not legally kill another gobbler until the following Monday.

This arrangement spreads out hunting pressure over the first week of the season. It improves the quality of hunting and reduces the chances of hunting accidents by making the woods less crowded. This year the Conservation Department recorded four nonfatal, firearms-related turkey hunting accidents during the first five days of the season and none during the first weekend.

-Jim Low-
 

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I still can't recall the wet nasty weather during last years season. I recall a cold snap at the start,,but from my recallection it was one of the driest springs I can ever remember.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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Around here it was dry as a bone. It is the only turkey season I can ever remember not needing to wear rubber boots. We planted all our crops on may 6th and 7th. We possibly were in one of the drier areas of the state. I also feel like we had a good hatch,,,we were seeing tons of jakes while turkey huntin this year. Of course our crops reflect the conditions we had.:D

:cheers::cheers:
 

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couldn't have anything to do with the new check in system. :peepwall:
 
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