April 10, 2003

Youth Turkey Hunters Get Head Start On Spring Season April 12-13

Young hunters will get a jumpstart on the 2003 spring turkey season in Missouri during the special Youth-Only Turkey season April 12-13. The two-day event offers hunters age 6-15 the opportunity for an early start to the turkey season, which opens for the rest of the state's hunters April 21st and runs through May 11th.

These young folks have two options to pursue the special season. A special youth deer and turkey permit is available for purchase for anyone age 6-15 for a $15 fee. It allows resident youths to take one male turkey or turkey with visible beard during either the youth-only spring turkey season or the regular spring turkey season, and also one turkey of either sex during the fall firearms turkey season.

The youth hunting with this permit is not required to be hunter education certified; however, he or she must be in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult who has a valid hunter education certificate card (regardless of the age of the later).

All hunters born on or after January 1, 1967, except those purchasing a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, must complete an approved hunter education program and display their card before they can purchase a firearms turkey hunting permit. A person must be at least 11 years old to receive hunter education certification. Those under age 11 may not purchase regular firearms deer or turkey hunting permits.

The second option is for youth hunters, age 11-15 that already own their hunter certification. These hunters may purchase a regular spring turkey hunting permit.

These individuals may tag one male turkey or turkey with a visible beard during the special youth hunt. They will still maintain the option to harvest a second bird during the regular spring season.

However, if they take a bird during the youth season, this will count as their first bird, and would prevent them from taking a second turkey until after April 27. (Spring turkey rules allow hunters to harvest a total of two turkeys - but only one of which may be taken during the opening week April 21-27.)

Youths must be capable of holding, aiming and shooting the firearm by themselves, and must abide by the appropriate season dates, methods and tagging/ checking requirements.

Youths who purchase a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, but who turn age 11 later in the permit year and obtain hunter education certification, may surrender unused portions of their youth permit and purchase regular firearms deer and/or turkey permits for the fall seasons. However, there are no refunds for surrendered portions.

Jim's Service Station in Memphis is the lone MDC check station in Scotland County that will be open for the youth turkey season.

Last year young hunters took advantage of the Youth Spring Turkey Season, killing 3,102 birds and completing the two-day season without a single reported hunting accident.

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