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Mid-America Hunting Association
Missouri spring turkey season topics as reported by many new to their Association.
Many cite Missouri’s high harvest rates. Their belief is with as many wild turkeys as there are chances of success are greatest in Missouri than in other states. Our approach to Missouri spring turkey season is different from “playing odds”. Our success is each hunter has access to multiple flocks. If one does not work due to pressure or mistakes then move onto another. A case of covering ground to find what is sought rather then just have one spot hoping luck comes along.
Missouri spring turkey season is as good as it is due to large concentrations of wild turkeys. A seemingly simple statement. Examining why turkey populations exist to high numbers within Missouri lends to a better spring season hunt.
Missouri turkey wealth is due to several environmental limiting factors. Far more than I can accurately describe from many turkey biology based studies read, turkey hunting or behavior seminars attended. However, one of two key environmental factors specific to Missouri spring turkey season being well accepted are chick in egg reproduction is enhanced or degraded by humidity far more so than any other condition. Missouri’s geographic location it turns out has optimum humidity combined with average temperatures enhancing a high hatch potential.
One facet why humidity makes so much sense to us locals is nearby localities of large cattle feed lots. Ones which hold thousands of animals, are much further west by several hundred miles. Any farther east, feed lots are small to infrequent. A main reason is further west humidity is low enhancing cattle health when confined in large numbers in a small space. Largely low humidity prevents hoof/leg problems associated with wet ground. A region of low humidity that allows these large cattle yards is where Eastern Turkey range drops off with Rio Grande Turkey range increasing. Contrasting, Rio’s do not survive reproduction in Missouri. This difference is due to Missouri’s humidity – temperature combination which supports Easterns so well prevents Rio Grande reproduction.
A description that any animal has optimized conditions allowing enhanced survival/reproduction. Other areas of less quality conditions are limiting factors of why one area has one type of animal while another region does not. About turkeys it is all chick in egg reproduction factors.
Knowing what those conditions may be with their effects simply makes us understand why Missouri is as good as it is to Eastern’s to why Rio Grande’s exist where they do.
A second factor is Missouri’s mild winters do not stress hens with cold temperatures or snowfall as occurs in other locations. Mild winters allows more effective winter food forage due a lack of snow cover. A factor which further contributes to in-egg hatch potential by allowing higher year round survival of more yearling hens to reproduction maturity. A turkey survival effect continues further with hens being physically stronger after winter allowing enhanced egg reproduction potential in terms of higher number combined with increased egg strength. Simply more food, less severe environmental conditions, most notably weather effects, makes for strong adult hens that produce strong offspring.
Non-resident self guided hunters often express:
They report harvested turkeys being of heavier body weight. A tom typically weighs between 22 to 27 pounds. Or, on average more than any tom they have earlier harvested in their home state.
A chance for a “trophy” tom, or a refinement of a hunter’s experience, is one more attraction. All resulting from high egg hatch rates from strong hens makes Missouri spring turkey season as good as it. Making good scoring toms by weight, beard or spur.
Same tom at right and below.
While live turkey pictures show a lot with text adding context.
Open range Easterns without big timber. A not so small point about agricultural land hunting. This is often a new experience for many.
These turkeys are in a bean stubble field before it was worked to plant. Pictures were taken early April. What seems like barren ground is flock attracting. Showing live wild turkey pictures on such land does much to illustrate preferred habitat. Or, flocks spend more time in grain fields than under trees. If it were not for many traveling hunters who read our web site or call us we would not overstate this point throughout our discussions. Reality has shown us to get it across multiple times as a majority of Association hunters travel in from out-of-state. Often from big woods states. Often those not prepared to maneuver grain farmland.
We will never claim to be experts. We simply enjoy spring turkey season. We make it as much of a study as we can so as to enjoy our hunt more.