April 26, 2012

Windy Weather Hampers Turkey Hunters on Season Opener

Joe Slaton of California, harvested this big 24-pound gobbler while hunting in Scotland County this week. The bird had an 11-inch beard and 1 3/4-inch spurs.

Extremely windy conditions didn't keep hunters out of the woods on Monday for the opener of the 2012 spring turkey hunting season, but it did lower the success rate across the region as well as most of the state.

Scotland County hunters checked in 28 turkeys on opening morning, down from 35 last season.

That was par for the course in northeast Missouri, where the Missouri Department of Conservation regional office reported a decline of 181 turkeys from the 2011 harvest level for the 15 counties. The opening morning harvest declined from 726 in 2011 to just 545 on April 16, 2012.

Adair County was the lone county with a higher total, increasing from 52 to 55 birds from 2011 to 2012. All 14 other counties saw opening morning drop offs, led by Macon County, which dropped 20 turkeys from last year's opener, falling out of its traditional top spot in the region. Adair County was tops on opening morning with 55 turkeys checked in. Randolph County hunters tagged 54 turkeys while Macon fell to third with 53 birds.

Clark County hunters saw their opening morning harvest decline 19 turkeys to 30 this year. Putnam County saw a similar drop, falling off 2011's pace by 17 birds, down to 30 in 2012. Schuyler County hunters checked in just 16 turkeys, down four from last year and Knox County was down seven birds, to 30 in 2012.

Statewide, the opening morning numbers fell off 830 birds from 2011. A total of 6,071 turkeys were bagged on the first day of the three week season, compared to 6,901 last season. Of that total 4,674 were adult gobblers, with 1,397 jakes checked in. The opening day record of 10,119 turkeys was set back in 2004.

St. Genevieve County topped the state with 139 turkeys checked in. St. Clair County was second with 132 followed by Greene County with 128 as the southern hunters experienced better weather conditions.

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