The Missouri Youth Turkey Season was a success yet again this year. Here is a recap of strategies used and birds taken from NWTF Biologist John Burk.
Here’s the report from the weekend here in MO. Missouri youth were blessed with 2 stellar days weather-wise (calm and clear both mornings). The total harvest was just slightly down from last year but we are coming off tied for our worst hatch on record and the average jake harvest during youth season is usually around 30% (this year it was 17%)…Last year MO youth took 4,163 birds and this year we ended at 4,060.
We also had a GREAT 9th annual Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt where 17 kids participated and went 9 for 17 with all but 1 youth having an opportunity to harvest a bird. Things were pretty typical for this time of year…it’s still a little early so they gobbled good enough to get on them but didn’t make much noise once their feet hit the ground. Knowing where they roost, where they feed, travel patterns between the two, placing yourself in those locations, throwing them a little sweet talk every now and then, and waiting them out was the key…not a lot of suicide birds this early.
I had a great experience with my kid. I was working 3 in front of us and could hear drumming behind us. I got my hunter turned around just in time. The bird never gobbled once but he drummed all the way in (24.5 lbs. 11” beard, 1 and 1/16th” spurs). Most of our hunters were FIRST time hunters including my youth hunter. He was cool as a cucumber and made a perfect shot but I thought he was going to shake himself apart when we were standing over his bird…VERY cool!
John D. Burk
District Biologist for MO and IL
National Wild Turkey Federation