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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Missouri was the TURKEY HUNTING MECCA in the early 2000’s highlighted in every magazine, outdoor TV show and even in the Missouri Conservationist. Home of 500,000 to 600,000 Wild Turkeys

The two biologists that can be recognized for Missouri great success in eastern wild turkey restoration are John B. Lewis and Dr. Larry Vangilder.

February 2001 – I attended a Missouri Wild Turkey Management Workshop – Given by the Missouri Department of Conservation - Dr. Michael Hubbard – MDC Wild Turkey Biologist -

The Missouri Department of Conservation - No.1 goal for Missouri Wild Turkey is Quality Turkey Hunting. - Lots of adult gobbling birds.

Now the Missouri Spring Season Statewide is in the gutter Missouri Spring season and is not even a secondary thought of a place to travel for turkey hunting and no longer even ranks in the Top 10.

The statewide Missouri Wild Turkey Hunting Mecca is now DEAD. Missouri is a “POTHOLE” Wild Turkey Hunting State – Some areas have a good population but that is even shrinking, some areas have a declining population, some areas they exist on such a low level, almost non-existent.

You will not read this from the Missouri Department of Conservation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the Missouri Media will only regurgitate what they put out. Matter of fact the Missouri Conservationist published by the MDC in May and April of 2021 did not even cover the Missouri Wild Turkey.

May 31st, 2018 - SPRING TURKEY HARVEST – WAKE UP PEOPLE was an article I wrote, because of the trend I was seeing on my own farm that was playing out now in the state of Missouri.

I have been fighting the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation lack of action and the worse 4 years in a row and 2021 the lowest in 19 years.

I have written the Missouri Conservation Commission, the Regulation Committee, NWTF Missouri Biologist and NO ONE OF AUTHORITY IS LISTENING!!!

Do not believe me, look up the information and good luck with that because most is not published anymore must be requested.

Not one thing by itself, but all together will influence major population decline. Each issue by itself does not have that big of affect but, put them all together it does.

1. Price of furs near all-time low, less trappers, more predators, no extended days for trapping.
2. Missouri Wild Hog Population Highest ever estimated up to 100,000
3. Black Bear Population Highest ever 2012 – 350 today estimated closer to 1000.
4. Habitat Lose both Private & Public land Hunters are older,
5. Armadillos population on the rise and expanding north, may not eat eggs but destroy nest in searching for insects and grubs.
6. 17 years of bad hatch due to weather not likely. But some years yes.
7. More efficient fall and spring hunting methods with crossbows, ammo, guns and chokes.
8. Fall Hens still being shot in Archery and Shotgun – Dead hen can’t lay eggs and may not matter when population was higher, but now it does when all the other things now exist.
9. Killing dominate gobblers for 20 years before breeding could take place.
2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Missouri Wild Turkey Harvest are the four worse seasons in Missouri since 2002. 2021 is now just horrible year of 2018 and now is the worse season in 19 years.

Harvest rates in Missouri are closely correlated to the Wild Turkey population numbers.
Over a 20-year period, turkey populations in Missouri have only declined.

The population has nosedived by more than a third of its best years of harvest data. Some areas of Missouri, the turkey harvest has declined by almost 50 to 60 percent or more.

The survival rate of poults, or baby turkeys, is now dangerously low. The poult to hen ratio in Missouri has now dwindle to less than one per hen.

Right NOW - HENS in MISSOURI cannot replace itself in the short or long term. That is FACT! The past 5-year poult research in Missouri has proven that. Missouri Landowners don’t need a Master degree in biology to see this.

This is an example of when POPULATION REDUCTION IS THE GOAL - The North American Wildlife Conservation Model - In cases where population REDUCTION is the management goal, managers must implement FEMALE harvest beyond the level at which the population can replace itself in the short-term.

In the Meantime - Raccoons in 8 Years have gone from 158,000 sold to 22,000 sold - Missouri furs sold closely correlated to the furbearer population numbers left on the Missouri landscape.

That means just in ONE year 136,000 Raccoons are left alive to REPLACE itself short term by the means of not being killed to having litters of 3 to 8 replacing its self-multiple times. NOW times that by 8 years, now added in Bobcats, Coyotes, Opossum, Skunks, Foxes, Crows, Hawks, Owls, etc. etc. who population has only increased since any research was done that FALL HEN SEASON DOES NOT MATTER TO POPULATION.

Simply put a wild turkey gobblers, jakes and hens have to travel further and further each year in a decline population to find each other while safety in flocks of dozens are now reduce to just a few individuals – Walking a mine field of predators and laying eggs in environment that the egg eaters have never existed in these numbers.
HISTORY OF MISSOURI SEASON

1960 First spring season; 3 days, 14 counties – Why because the Wild Turkey population was still in growth to have, had a 3-week season and early youth season, fall season and an archery season with crossbows! To be able to kill 6 wild turkeys a year!!! Could be 2 gobblers and 4 hens a year!

1960-72 Spring season expanded (4 times) to 14 days – WOW as the wild turkey population grows the season expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

1975 First fall archery season - WOW as the wild turkey population grows the added a season, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

1978 First fall firearms season - WOW as the wild turkey population grows the added a season, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

1985 Spring season expanded to all 114 counties - WOW as the wild turkey population grows the season expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

1998 Spring season extended from two to three weeks - WOW as the wild turkey population grows the season expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

2001 First spring youth season - WOW - Research dictated that if we are to guard against overharvest of mature gobblers, the spring season must begin after the peak in breeding activity in early April.

MISSOURI YOUTH SEASON GOES AGAINST THE VERY BIOLOGICAL REASON FOR THE DAY THE SEASON OPENS - The season opens Monday closest to April 21st. This corresponds to the historical records of the second peak Missouri Ozark Gobbling. This is the biological reason for the opening day.
Which may lead to the great successes in turkey population because the hens get to breed with the dominate birds with the first peak gobbling.

So Biological Reason no longer exist - Why not open the season the SATURDAY AND SUNDAY before the Monday closets to April 21st for Biological Reason!
As the wild turkey population grows the season expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change!

2021 – 20-year decline in Wild Turkey Population and Harvest WOW as the wild turkey population grows the season expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change! WHY!!!!!

Regulatory Changes to Turkey and Trappings Season IS the Solution

Did you know that 1974-75 - Bag limit reduced to 1 bird due to poor hatch in 1973. Guess they don't care about that for the last 19 years.
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND THE MISSOURI NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION - WILL ARE NOT LISTENING TO THE MISSOURI CITIZENS


Word on the street that the Missouri Biologist and Directors are pushing for an all-day spring season and with no change to any season for turkeys. Hunter recruitment is now the bigger priority!

FY 2020 - Missouri NWTF Biologist – “Regulatory Changes to Season not the Solution”

FY 2021 - Missouri Department of Conservation Biologist – the population can rebound given "SEVERAL YEARS" of good production.

So between the two organization we have two policies:
a. Regulatory Changes to the Season is not the Solution
b. Wait and Hope

a. 20-year decline in Wild Turkey Population and Harvest common sense tells me when the wild turkey population grows the multiple season added over time and expanded, but as population decline nothing allowed to change! - Regulatory Changes to Turkey and Trappings Season IS the Solution – Since it was the Solution to increase the population in the beginning. Missouri History Proves this!!!!

SEVERAL YEARS OF GOOD PRODUCTION common sense tells me that WAIT and HOPE is not a solution!!!

A five-year study in NORTHERN MISSOURI that wrapped up in 2019 concluded that poult survival was far less than normal rates, and in an effort to reverse that decline, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri have embarked on a multi-year research project to identify the reasons why. Research Counties - Putnam, Schuyler, Monroe, and Marion Counties

TO REVERSE THAT DECLINE – THEY ARE GOING TO STUDY IT FOR ANOTHER 10 YEARS


Where else – NORTHERN MISSOURI – The official field work is expected to begin in January 2021 on MOSTLY PRIVATE lands in Putnam County for the next 10 years. “Northern Missouri just experienced some of the best production that we’ve seen in the past five years.

This FLAWED MISSOURI WILD TURKEY RESEARCH – Does not address the 1.5 million plus acres of public ground, Elk, Black Bear, Wild Hogs, Mountain Lions, Armadillos that exist in Southern Missouri, that compete for food sources and are predators of Wild Turkeys and eggs, that the flawed Research Projects have not and will not address any of these issues in Southern Missouri for the past 5 years or the future 10 years.

20 years ago these did not or existed at a low level but have continued to increase their population Elk, Bear, Wild Hogs, Mountain Lions, Armadillos exist, compete for food sources and are predators of Wild Turkeys and eggs, that the flawed Research Projects have not and will not address any of these issues in Southern Missouri.

TODAY – The entire Southern Missouri Wild Turkey Policy is being decided on a county that is on the IOWA BORDER.

FOR OVER 20 PLUS YEARS the alphabet of conservation groups has pounded into private landowners head to improve habitats both nesting, brooding, fawn cover, food plots, specialty seeds, tree and shrub plantings, prescribed fires and timber stand improvements, etc. etc.

Missouri even has dozen and dozen of private land conservationist for that very reason.
1000’s and 10,000’s of landowners has spent millions and done exactly this, and Biologist then turn and around and say them – It is your fault you need to improve your habitat. Well, I be glad to piss on their leg and tell them it is raining the next time one tells me that.



In Deer management - Control the does, keep predators at bay, have good habitat. Even the past Quality Deer Management group gives a predator trapping classes in increase fawn recruitment.

Duck management - Hen restrictions, keep predators from nesting areas, have good habitat.

Missouri Turkey management - Who gives a flying F*** about females and predators. Habitat is the only way.... We will prove it after 10 years from now in our Iowa Border Turkey Study. Where Elk, Bear, Wild Hogs, Mountain Lions, Armadillos do not exist, or compete for food sources and are predators of Wild Turkeys and eggs, that the flawed Research Projects have not and will not address any of these issues in Southern Missouri.


WE are not the only ones! - But Missouri is the only one not making ANY changes!!!

Biologists, researchers and land managers discuss turkey conservation in Little Rock
2019 - LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hosted biologists and land managers from Arkansas and neighboring states to collaborate on an apparent decline in eastern wild turkey numbers seen across the Southeast. The meeting was held at the AGFC’s Little Rock headquarters and included presentations by biologists, researchers and conservation experts from Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana.

2018 thru 2021 - Arkansas, Tennessee, Kansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma have all made Regulatory Changes to Turkey and Trappings Season to help the Wild Turkey Population!!!


SOLUTION – THE RESOURCE – AKA – MISSOURI WILD TURKEY OVER MONEY

On Sept. 10, 1935, about 75 Missouri sportsmen met at a hotel in Columbia were disgusted with then the current state of the wildlife regulations controlled by the government and special interest groups.
2021 100’s of Missouri Sportsmen ARE disgusted with the wildlife regulations are controlled by a different branch of government and now different special interest groups. MDC, NWTF and CFM.

They are concern with money and hunter recruitment over the wild turkey – I say if the wild turkey population and harvest is high you have more money and more hunters.

Since the Government and Special Interest Groups will not consider any changes to Spring Season, Fall Season, Trapping Season or Non-Native or Invasive Species regulations in Missouri.

If these 4 things don’t happen in the short term – You can kiss your SEVERAL SEASONS goodbye and Guess add decades to the sentence as we have already seen.

MDC regulations move at a bureaucracy pace and will take over a year or two just to make a simple change.


1. ALL hens are in every Season protected - No Archery, No Fall Hens, No Bearded Hens.

2. Furbearer Season Extend to February 29 - Stop letting 40 fur buyers, decide the season.

3. Landowner’s furbearers are open year-round. WE own 93% of the land and are treated like 7%.

4. Youth Season move to weekend before regular season opens.

Let me be perfectly clear – Lot more could be and should be done – This is the starter list – But NOT One by itself will matter this is going to be a complicated solution for a complicated problem – Doing nothing is not a solution – SEE past 5, 10, 20 years as proof of that!!!

NUMBER 1 – WILD TURKEY HENS Breakdown

STOP KILLING HEN IN MISSOURI – They keep saying number of hens killed do not matter to the population, I say – DEAD HENS DON’T LAY EGGS - If they cannot replace themselves in the short term or long term RIGHT NOW - dead hen definably will not.

NUMBER 2 – PREDATORS Breakdown

1940 – 1941 – 834,935 pelts harvested (most pelts sold) (over 70% were opossum and skunk pelts) most pelts sold
1945 – 1946 – Missouri Fur Dealer Permits 1,192
1979 – 1980 – 634,338 (2nd highest pelts sold - when average raccoon pelt values were estimated at $27.50.
1997 – 1998 – Over 200,000 Raccoons trapped.
1980 – 1981 – 13,248 trapping permits sold in the state of Missouri (Highest Number)
2011/2012 - 158,356 Raccoons sold.
2019 - MDC issued 41 Fur Buyer Permits
2018 - 2019 – 6,956 trapping permits sold in the state of Missouri
2018 - 2019 – Raccoon totaled 22,562 trapped
2018-19 season resulted in the lowest raccoon “22,562” harvest since 1942 and the longest duration of decline in harvest numbers over the last 25 years with seven consecutive years of decline
2018- 2019 – Opossum harvest totaled 593 lowest opossum harvest on record.
2018- 2019 – Skunk also resulted in the lowest Skunk harvest since 2000-01 only 156.
2018 – 2019 - Coyote population appears to be on a slight increase since the 1970s
2018 -2019 Bobcat season was down 28.40% from 2017-18 The decline in harvest and in the number of bobcat pelts purchased by fur dealers also is likely attributed to a poor global fur market.

NUMBER 3– YOUTH SEASON Breakdown

You cannot kill 72,264 Gobblers and call it Biological Sound!! Can't have it both ways.

MISSOURI YOUTH SEASON GOES AGAINST THE VERY BIOLOGICAL REASON FOR THE DAY THE SEASON OPENS - The season opens Monday closest to April 21st. This corresponds to the historical records of the second peak Missouri Ozark Gobbling. This is the biological reason for the opening day.
Which may lead to the great successes in turkey population because the hens get to breed with the dominate birds with the first peak gobbling.

So Biological Reason no longer exist - Why not open the season the SATURDAY AND SUNDAY before the Monday closets to April 21st for Biological Reason!
Bureaucratic Biologist or Wildlife Biologist

What happen to all the Wildlife Biologist?

Because a Bureaucratic Biologist has now become one of the most invasive species in Missouri.

READ Missouri Conservationist Magazine in May - The way TWO – MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST – Forgot to mention that Armadillos are destroying Turkey Nest. – Be glad to provide photo and evidence of them destroying a nest – Armadillo are now considered NATIVE and no hunting or trapping season –

No, they are not looking for the eggs, but he bugs under the nest and they bulldoze the eggs and if they bust them, they will lick up the yokes. Sheer numbers make then an INVASIVE SPECIES to all ground nesting birds in Missouri. Even the Tennessee Game Warden Video Shows Armadillo harassing hen on nest and the raccoons destroying nest.

Missouri Department of Conservation – Published FAKE news on website and magazine about a TICK GRAZING opossum.

Look at any opossums’ ears, or body. His body has 100+ more. You have all seen the opossum pic with the claim that they eat 5,000 to 10,000 ticks a year. It is a bogus claim made of a gal’s master’s thesis that made a non-scientific finding. It did not pass peer review.

1. Possums carry ticks and spread them.
2. If they do dig one off during grooming, they will eat that one tick.
3. Meanwhile the other 50 on them, suck up blood and then drop off the possum and create 10,000's more.
4. Because of the habitat possums live in, they collect a lot of ticks, and spread a lot of ticks and are the most numerous furbearers in the state of Missouri.
5. Opossums carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease. They may also be infested with fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Opossums are hosts for cat and dog fleas, especially in urban environments. This flea infestation on opossums is particularly concerning for transmission of flea-borne typhus.
6. Opossums are notorious for egg eating. Up to 70% of the Bobwhite Quail nests are destroyed by opossums. Quail are decreasing in numbers throughout the country. Wild Turkeys also take a hit on their nests from opossums. Nothing like a WET hen smell to draw in a opossum.

NOT ONE STUDY OF WILD TURKEY IN MISSOURI – Has or will exist in 10 years of 100,000 Wild Hogs consuming food sources, 275 Elk Consuming food sources, 1,000 Black Bears Consuming Food Sources and predation of eggs, GOD only know the sheer number of Armadillos destroying turkey nest, the sheer number of predators on the modern landscape because of prices, wet springs, habitat loss, more efficient and longer-range weapons. PROVE ME WRONG!!!! YOU CAN’T!!!!!

You may agree with everything or nothing – Great then you write letters to the MDC, Conservation Commission, Missouri NWTF tell them how great of job they are doing or get off you *** and do something, but being SILENT you become part of the same problem.

All this information and even more breakdown of numbers can be seen at these two links -

THE STATE OF THE MISSOURI WILD TURKEY
Missouri Wild Turkey

or

Summary of the Game Camera 15 Year History of Wild Turkeys on 84 acres in Bollinger County, Missouri
15 Year Wild Turkey History in Southern Missouri


Missouri Spring Season – History of totals

2021 – Turkeys 32,319
2020 – Turkeys 41,454
2019 – Turkeys 38,776
2018 – Turkeys 35,787 (Lowest Harvest in 16 years)
2017 – Turkeys 43,356
2016 – Turkeys 48,374
2015 – Turkeys 48,432
2014 – Turkeys 47,601
2013 – Turkeys 46,141
2012 – Turkeys 44,766
2011 – Turkeys 42,220
2010 – Turkeys 46,194
2009 – Turkeys 44,713
2008 – Turkeys 46,134
2007 – Turkeys 48,472
2006 – Turkeys 54,712
2005 – Turkeys 57,743
2004 – Turkeys 60.744 (Most Turkeys ever killed)
2003 – Turkeys 58,421



Missouri Youth Turkey Season – History of totals.

2021 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 2,771
2020 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 2,724
2019 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 2,546
2018 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 1,729 - Lowest
2017 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 4,012
2016 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 4,167
2015 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 4,441 - Highest
2014 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 4,332
2013 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 3,915
2012 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 4,319
2011 – Youth Turkey Season Total – 3,898
2010 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,945
2009 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 2,884
2008 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 2,898
2007 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3.545
2006 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,694
2005 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,894
2004 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,258
2003 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,660
2002 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 3,102
2001 – Youth Turkey Season Total - 2,530 - First
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
a couple highlights for HAWK!!


Now the Missouri Spring Season Statewide is in the gutter Missouri Spring season and is not even a secondary thought of a place to travel for turkey hunting and no longer even ranks in the Top 10.

The statewide Missouri Wild Turkey Hunting Mecca is now DEAD. Missouri is a “POTHOLE” Wild Turkey Hunting State – Some areas have a good population but that is even shrinking, some areas have a declining population, some areas they exist on such a low level, almost non-existent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You will not read this from the Missouri Department of Conservation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the Missouri Media will only regurgitate what they put out. Matter of fact the Missouri Conservationist published by the MDC in May and April of 2021 did not even cover the Missouri Wild Turkey.
 

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But boy, it sure had a hell of an article on armadillos. And possums like 6 months ago. Freaking Christ almighty.
 

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Good write up 20, thanks for taking the time to type all that, with proper spelling, punctuation, and proper use of upper and lower case. Well done sir!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good write up 20, thanks for taking the time to type all that, with proper spelling, punctuation, and proper use of upper and lower case. Well done sir!
not me, and still had a few spelling errors!
 

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I agree 100%. I started hunting late 70s. Back then it was awesome. Wasnt nothing to hear 30 gobblers in a morning. If you messed up on one you could always find another. And so on. I mean all the way till noon. Gobbling all day. Wasnt nothing to see 200 birds in the river bottoms. Things have sure changed.
 

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Population is just fine. Carrying capacity only takes about 3 or so years to adjust down when it is exceeded.
#heardithere
#neverfearchartsandsnippetsarehere
 
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And what totally supports that downward trend is the fact that for year after year after year we killed AS MANY OR MORE spring birds as we did this year (actually the last several springs excluding the COVID inflated 2020 number) back when the season was 2 weeks long, it was one bird per week, there was like 50% of the people turkey hunting as there is today, and that kill number came almost exclusively from the Ozark and Ozark fringe counties.
 

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I believe the best turkey hunting in MO was between the mid 1980s and 1999. Around 2000 is when I began to see a change in things. By that, I mean not as many birds gobbling as in past years. Oh, I was still whacking them pretty easily. But, something was amiss.
 

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Good job 20. The decline started 10 years earlier than stated. What happened is that much of the state never saw what was possible. It is telling that the highest turkey population is now around St Louis.Predator population control is taking place where the tire meets the road.
It is good that a new study is taking place in NEMO.IF PREDATOR POPULATION DENSITY IS QUANTIFIED THE TRUTH WILL JUMP OUT.If disease was the main factor affecting the turkey it would seem that disease would be more efficient in areas that still have decent populations. Every egg sucker that dies under a tire gives chances for pouts to hatch.
 

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That is a very interesting read...From an outsider looking in, that is a huge drop from 2004 to now. It seems to be happening in Iowa, MN, SD etc...

Changes should be made, I would think backing off on limits, seasons, etc...might be in order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is a very interesting read...From an outsider looking in, that is a huge drop from 2004 to now. It seems to be happening in Iowa, MN, SD etcpring season along...

Changes should be made, I would think backing off on limits, seasons, etc...might be in order.
yup, a hunter can kill up to six birds a year, back it down to two birds total and leave Spring season alone, charge for archery tags like you do Fall turkey tags, but 2 total!!! if you kill your 2 birds in the Spring you are done until next Spring. Easy peasey!
 

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This article was written by someone that actually bought trailer loads of Antler Dirt.
220110
 
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