Missouri spring turkey

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced that turkey harvest numbers during the 2020 season increased due to more hunters in the field.

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced that turkey harvest numbers this season increased due to more hunters in the field.

Reina Tyl, turkey biologist, said hunters checked 41,454 birds during Missouri’s 2020 regular spring turkey season which ran from April 20 through May 10.

Last year, the total harvest for the regular spring season was 38,795 birds.

Tyl said there were more hunters participating this season and families were taking the opportunity to be outdoors.

“Even though nonresident permit sales were down this year, there were about 9,600 more spring turkey hunters overall than in 2019 due to an increase in unique individual permit sales,” Tyl said. “We were glad to see more people engaging with the resource this season. It’s nice to see more people take the opportunity to hunt this year.”

The harvest totals in counties in Northwest Missouri were Holt with 232, Andrew with 147 and Buchanan with 133.

The counties in the state with the highest number of bagged birds were in the south central region and the north central region.

The top harvest counties in the state were Franklin with 899 birds harvested, Callaway with 699 and Laclede with 651.

“Some of the regions are popular places to hunt and near urban areas,” Tyl said. “There are sections along the Missouri River breaks that have a good diversity of habitat. They have a good mix of forest and open land which produces higher turkey density.”

This year, young turkey hunters harvested 2,724 birds during the 2020 spring youth season which was April 4 and 5.

In 2019, young turkey hunters harvested 2,546 birds during the spring youth season.

“When turkey hunting participation increases, we expect to see a subsequent increase in turkey harvest,” Tyl said. “It’s great to see that more Missourians were able to get out into the woods this year.”

The conservation department received one report of a non-fatal hunting incident during the 2020 spring turkey season.

Margaret Slayton can be reached at margaret.slayton@newspressnow.com.