Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that turkey hunters checked 34,055 birds during Missouri’s regular spring turkey season April 16 through May 6.
Top harvesting counties were Franklin with 760 birds, Texas with 732, and Laclede with 657. Young turkey hunters harvested 1,729 birds during the 2018 spring season, April 7-8, bringing the overall 2018 total to 35,784.
In Lincoln County, a total of 312 birds were harvested including 23 adults, 69 jakes, and nine bearded hens. This year’s harvest total is down 17 percent from last year’s overall spring turkey harvest of 43,339 birds.
MDC Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle indicates that a drop in harvest was not unexpected given the poor production in recent years. He noted that it is common for jakes to make up over a quarter of the spring harvest following years of good production. The last two years, however, jakes have made up just 13 percent and 15 percent of the harvest.
In addition to poor production, Isabelle added that less than ideal conditions during youth season and opening day of the regular season impacted this year’s harvest as well.
“Unfortunately, poor hatches have reduced turkey numbers in many areas of the state,” Isabelle commented.