State fall turkey harvest up 20%

This year’s fall firearms turkey season confirmed that wild turkeys are increasing in Missouri.

The firearms turkey season during the entire month of October recorded a 20 percent increase in the number of turkeys harvested compared to last year.

Jason Isabelle, Missouri Department of Conservation resource scientist, said the state agency recorded a harvest of 8,498, which is 1,421 more than last year.

“As far as production goes, our turkey population struggled through several tough years,” Isabelle said.

The wettest year on record in Missouri came in 2008 and 2009 and 2010 also had ample rain. “All of that took a toll on turkeys and other ground-nesting wildlife,” Isabelle said.

Isabelle said 2011 was a good year for the hatch of wild turkeys in Missouri, which bolstered the turkey population throughout Missouri. This year’s hatch equaled 2011’s hatch, further increasing wild turkeys in the state.

The Conservation Department sold 16,413 firearms turkey hunting permits this fall, a 9.3 percent increase over last year.

Isabelle said the increased fall turkey harvest makes him optimistic about prospects for the 2013 spring turkey season.

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