Youth turkey hunt

Ethan Dennis, 14, from St. Joseph holds a turkey he harvested during the youth season this month.

Ethan Dennis, 14, harvested a 23-pound turkey during the opening day of youth season on a family farm in Andrew County.

Ethan Dennis from St. Joseph bagged the bird with his father Eric Dennis on April 6. The duo was sitting near a fence row when two birds came across the corn field.

“The morning was pretty slow at first,” Eric Dennis said. “We heard some gobbling on the roost but they flew out behind us. We didn’t see or hear anything for the next three or four hours. We then decided to give one more quick call and they answered us. We sat down and two of them just ran straight to our decoy from 100 yards out.”

Dennis called the bird and shot it at 7 yards. The bird weighed 23 pounds and its beard measured at 11.5 inches.

“Ethan is a seasoned hunter and has killed several birds but he called this one on his own and harvested the bird,” Eric Dennis said.

MDC reports increase in youth harvest from last year

According to preliminary data from Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), young turkey hunters harvested 2,540 turkeys during the 2019 spring youth season which ran from April 6 to April 7.

The top harvest counties in the state were Franklin with 61 turkeys harvested, Laclede with 56 and Texas with 52.

In Northwest Missouri, the top counties were Holt with 13 birds and Nodaway with 12 turkeys.

Joe Jerek, news services coordinator, said last year young hunters checked 1,729 turkeys. He said the warm weather and sunny skies over much of the state helped increase this year’s youth-weekend harvest total.

Spring turkey hunting continues with the upcoming regular spring turkey hunting season from April 15 through May 5.