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Forecasts Hunting Turkey

Missouri Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

by Tony Kalna Jr.   |  March 11th, 2014 0
Gobbler, Turkey, Turkey Hunting, Hunting Turkey, Missouri Turkey Hunting

Phil Puckett of Sikeston Missouri got his first 2 turkeys at the age of 59!

It was the first day of the second week of the spring 2013 Missouri turkey hunting season. The morning hours were waning and my old knees were aching from walking so much while trying to locate a gobbler.

The morning seemed to be a great one for turkey hunting. The weather was mild, it wasn’t windy, and the sun was shining brightly. Nevertheless, I had not heard a gobbler all morning. I guess nobody told the turkeys it was a great day for them to be gobbling!

I was sitting on an old stump just inside the woods along the edge of a cow pasture resting my 50-year-old knees. It was about 10:45 when a crow cawed. I imagined that in the distance I heard a tom shock gobble in response. I spun around on the stump and scratched out some extremely loud and long yelps from my friction call. Sure enough, the gobbler revealed his location to me.

I could tell where the turkey was but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk that far to get it. It was a long way off and my knees were burning with pain. Well, you’ve heard the old saying, no pain, no gain, and so off I went.

I called several times along the way but never got another response. I walked all the way to the next ridge-top and then scanned the woods for a good place from which to call. I picked a white oak, leaned my shotgun against the trunk and called again. This time I heard at least two toms answer me! Their rattling calls came from about 100 yards away, just over the crest of the ridge. I put my facemask on, sat down, propped my shotgun across one knee and called again. Another gobble, a little closer this time, told me the toms were on their way and my heart began racing.

It wasn’t long until I saw the first of the gobblers crest the hill about 40 yards away on the other side of a barbed wire fence. Two more long-beards followed in procession behind him. The lead bird broke away and ducked under the fence and proceeded toward me. Dense brush prevented me from shooting until he was about 20 yards away. I was ready to blast him but he stopped right behind a small tree. If he took one or two more steps I was going to pull the trigger, but he froze, fixated on my position.

Meanwhile, turkey No. 2 walked right down the fenceline within 15 yards to my left. I can’t believe I did it without spooking the first tom or the other two for that matter, but I ever-so-slowly eased my gun to the left. When I got the bead on gobbler No. 2, I putted to get it to stop and then I shot. My second bird of the season was on the ground. This one weighed 20 pounds, sported a 10 1/2-inch rope of a beard and 1-inch spurs.

The reason I told you that story is, well, I like telling it. But seriously, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s resource scientist Jason Isabelle, I can expect the same kind of successful spring season this year as I did in 2013. That’s good news for me — and for you!

“I think 2014 will be a good spring season, very comparable to last year, maybe even a little better,” Isabelle said. “Although turkey production was down in 2013, there should still be a good group of 2-year-old birds from the successful hatch we had in 2012.”

Isabelle is the wildlife biologist that oversees Missouri’s wild turkey flock, and he is very optimistic about the spring season, at least for this year.

“It was the good hatch from 2011 that helped make hunting good last spring, and the above-average hatch in 2012 will make this spring season good,” Isabelle said. “Plus the leftover gobblers that didn’t get shot from 2011 will be good 3-year-old birds for this season too.”

Hunters bagged 42,220 turkeys during Missouri’s spring hunt last year, and considering that Isabelle is predicting as good a hunt or better should make you and me feel pretty good about the prospects this year.

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