It may not feel a lot like spring to you and me, but for Missouri’s wild turkeys, the season of strutting and gobbling has arrived. And right on their heels come an influx of hunters from across the map, hoping to bag one or two during the spring firearms turkey season, April 16-May 6.
Hunters from all around the country know the Show-Me State is a great place to hunt wild turkey and come in droves each spring (and fall). The largest number head north from Arkansas, but we draw in hopeful hunters from as close as Iowa, Illinois and Kansas and as far away as Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas.
Much of the credit for the popularity of our state as a turkey hunting destination goes to the citizens of the state and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Thanks to the dedicated sales tax for conservation, we can offer nearly a million acres of public lands for hunting. Turkey restoration and extensive habitat management efforts made by MDC, their partner organizations and private landowners over the past decades make for good turkey numbers around the state.
It’s important to us that you enjoy your time hunting in the Show-Me State and that all the excitement you have comes from bagging a big tom or two. So please practice safety while you’re in our woods:
- Avoid turkey “fanning.” This dangerous technique – hiding behind a turkey fan and moving it around to attract other turkeys – can lead you to being mistaken for game.
- Sit with your back against a tree; this shields you from any hunters that may be behind you.
- Call your turkey in to you, don’t stalk it. Besides, mastering a great turkey call is fun.
- Orange is the new everything: wear it and wrap it around a decoy or bagged turkey when you’re moving around in the woods. In addition to your hunter orange, dress defensively, avoiding common turkey colors (red, white, blue or black).
- Know your target: ID the turkey’s head and beard before shooting.
Just a few practical habits and you’ll head home from your adventure with nothing more than memories of a great hunt and hopefully – a great bird.
If this happens to be your first foray in Missouri turkey hunting, a free MDC hunting certificate is the perfect way to memorialize your first turkey harvest in the Show-Me State.