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Opening-day turkey harvest down 23 percent
Conservation Department officials attribute the decline to poor hatches over the past three years.

JEFFERSON CITY-The number of turkeys checked by hunters on the first day of the 2006 firearms turkey hunting season dropped by nearly one-quarter compared to last year. The Missouri Department of Conservation attributes the decrease to poor turkey hatches the past three years.

This year's first-day harvest was 7,860, down from 10,119 last year. That is a decrease of 2,259, or 23 percent.

The top opening-day turkey harvest counties were Ste. Genevieve with 174, Callaway with 167 and Franklin with 161. One-year-old male turkeys, commonly called "jakes," made up 19 percent of the first-day kill.

Missouri's spring turkey harvest has set new records 29 of the past 45 years. This was the predictable result of a turkey restoration program that built the state's turkey flock from a few hundred birds to an estimated 800,000.
The spring harvest topped 50,000 in 1999. Since then it has hovered between 50,000 and 60,000, with an all-time high of 60,744 in 2004. Biologists say this plateau is the result of the state's turkey population reaching the maximum number the land can support.

Before the three-week season began, Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer predicted a total harvest in the neighborhood of 50,000. He said hunters still could reach this mark with favorable weather.

"There is no way around a reduced harvest after several years of below-normal reproduction," said Beringer, "but it's important to remember that our turkey flock is still one of the biggest in the nation. Our opening-day harvest is bigger than some state's annual harvest. This year's final tally will depend heavily on weather, as it always does, but Missouri turkey hunters prospects remain very bright regardless of whether this year's harvest is down a bit."

Missouri's turkey season begins on the Monday nearest to April 21 each year and runs for three weeks. The weather forecast for the first weekend of this year's season calls for scattered showers and temperatures in the low 70s. Beringer said these are fair conditions for turkey hunting.

-Jim Low-
 

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Originally posted by riverbottomhunter
Wonder how many people shot a bird and forgot to call it in.
I doubt very many, at least in the area I hunted the first two days. I only heard 7 shots (none of them mine, BTW)!

From the postings here the last couple of days, the count for the 2nd week is likey to go way up. The only problem I foresee is the woods being so thick now that we've had rain. I too wish they'd get off the traditional opening day kick and move the season earlier.
 

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I would like to see an earlier start,,but that is'nt why our hunting is tough. Our gobblers are still henning up early and gobbling very little. I think the rainy weather moved the birds to the fields and they sort of flocked back up. I expected great things as far as gobbling goes, this morning with the weather finally breaking,,but it did'nt happen. We heard about a 1/2 a dozen gobbles between 6 and 6:15 and that was it, until we stumbled onto a strutter that was gobbling pretty good about 8. He was henned up and we could'nt do anything with him,,,but at least he was gobblin.

I don't think the bad hatch info applies to our area,,,we saw 9 jakes this morning alone. I will actually be glad to see this week go by and hope more hens are setting nests all day next weekend.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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Originally posted by BeardsnSpurs

Opening-day turkey harvest down 23 percent

Conservation Department officials attribute the decline to poor hatches over the past three years.
Hmmm...

I read that last years hatch was actually above average... :confused:

I think the kill is down, mainly because of the weather ~ and the fact that they're already henned-up... :roll2:
 

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I believe those totals myself. For me my turkey killing is down 100%. What the heck is this with the word HARVEST? You don't HARVEST turkeys (they ain't corn for cryin' outloud) ya kill 'em.:bangin:

Jack
 

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I think the season is way too late myself. But, it's the same argument every year. I only heard 3 gobbles on Sunday and saw one hen walking in the field, but they were on another property. We didn't get out Saturday until after it quit raining. I was up all night, or so it seemed, listening to the rain hitting the camper roof.
 
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