Fall turkey hunting totals decline from last year
Ozark County hunters bagged 20 turkeys during Missouri fall firearms turkey season Oct. 1-31, according to Missouri Department of Conservation telecheck harvest data. Statewide, hunters checked 2,899 birds. The top harvest counties were Greene with 100, Texas with 95 and Dent with 94.
The statewide total is down more than 21 percent from last year’s 3,698 turkeys killed. MDC turkey biologist Jason Isabelle said this year’s low numbers can be attributed to several factors, including a poor turkey hatch, a decline in hunter participation and above-average acorn production.
“This year’s fall firearms turkey permit sales total of 10,243 was the lowest on record since the season started in 1978,” said Isabelle. “During our peak year in 1987, nearly 53,000 permits were purchased.”
A good acorn crop typically results in fewer turkeys being taken because when acorns are abundant, turkeys don’t have to range far to locate food and spend less time in open fields where they’re more visible to hunters, Isabelle explained in an MDC press release.
Fall archery turkey hunting continues through Nov. 10 and resumes again from Nov. 22 through Jan. 15, 2018.