by MDC Agent Michael Collins
Spring is here and it is that time of the year that hunters are getting geared up for the spring turkey hunting season. It’s a great time to begin blowing the dust off of the turkey calls, buying stock in insect repellent, and making sure your gear is up to par.
The youth spring turkey hunting season is April 9th and 10th at one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. This allows the kids to get the first opportunity at getting a gobbler and increases their chances for success. It also provides mom or dad the opportunity to spend quality time, to create memories that will reside for a lifetime – just as you experienced growing up. It is outdoor enjoyment like this that enriches the lives of Missourians and continues generations- long heritage. This is why it is essential and required that the adult, who is assisting, be hunter education certified. It is also required that the adult have their spring turkey hunting permits, because the adult is encouraged to play such an active part in pursuing the turkey. To avoid any confusion, be aware that assisting does not include pulling the trigger or aiming the shotgun.
During the youth turkey season, the youth hunter must be ages 6 through 15 on opening-day in order to qualify. Youth may take one male turkey or turkey with a visible beard. Youth hunters who harvest a turkey during the youth portion may not harvest a second bird until April 25th. This is because the bird taken during the youth portion counts as the first bird for the first week of the regular season.
The kick-off of the regular spring turkey hunting season is from April 18th through May 8th. The legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Hunters may harvest two male turkeys or turkeys with a visible beard during season, with the following exceptions – only one turkey may be taken during the first week (Apr. 18- Apr. 24). Also, if you do not harvest a bird during the first week, you may harvest both birds in the second or third week (April 25 to May 8). Once you harvest a turkey, be sure to immediately invalidate your permit. This means to notch both the month and day harvested along the margins of your permit. Hunters may legally use a shotgun with shot not larger than No. 4 (includes shot shells in possession), a longbow, recurve or compound bow, crossbow and atlatl. Electronic calls and use of bait are prohibited while hunting turkeys.
As always, the Missouri Department of Conservation encourages you to hunt, fish, trap and enjoy the great outdoors. Missourians play a great role in driving the conservation of our wildlife resources through generations of outdoor tradition – now and for more to come. Be safe and good luck out there.
For further information, or questions, please visit www.mdc.mo.gov, check the 2016 Spring Turkey Hunting pamphlet or contact Conservation Agent Michael Collins at (660) 216-1374.