By Ethan Colbert
The spring turkey season was pretty tough this year as the state’s turkey hunters harvested 17 percent fewer turkeys compared to last season when hunters harvested 43,339.
This year’s statewide harvest was 34,055. The top counties, as determined by the number of turkeys harvested, were: Franklin, 760; Texas, 732; Laclede, 657.
According to local Missouri Department of Conservation Agent Mike Christensen, the decline in harvested turkeys is largely due to the decline in turkey population in Missouri and poor weather conditions that occurred during the hunting season.
“This was probably one of the worst seasons that I have seen since coming to Pike County,” Christensen said in a telephone interview. He later added that this year’s harvest likely represents the fewest turkeys harvested compared to the last few years.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Pike County hunters harvested 270 turkeys, including 230 adults, 33 juvenile, and seven bearded hens. This is a decline of almost 70 turkeys as hunters in Pike County killed 348 turkeys last year, including 304 adults, 40 juveniles, and four bearded hens.
According to Christensen, the ideal weather for turkey season is dry weather and low winds.
This year, the weather during turkey hunting season was “cold, rainy, and windy.”
The combination of those weather conditions made it “harder to hunt” turkeys, according to Christensen.