Spring Turkey Overview
Spring 2023 Turkey Season is behind us. It was a smooth one as far as reservations and issues in the field were concerned. Also, Mother Nature as far as weather conditions cooperated better than many other seasons in the past.
This year members traveled from 27 states to turkey hunt. Missouri residents were the top state with 89 hunters, Kansas was second with 25, Arkansas third with 17, and Mississippi fourth with 11.
The MAHA organization has changed quite a bit over the past 20 to 30 years. The name of the club was Mid-America Game Bird Association, as can be seen on some of our old aluminum signs. Upland bird and turkey were the dominant species to hunt. Most of the members were residents of Missouri and Kansas. Reservations were taken by telephone, and it took 3 phone lines to handle the volume of phone calls. We had a reservation book for each state with a calendar behind every map sheet and manually entered each reservation with a pencil or pen. Thirty days prior to spring turkey season we would lock the doors at the office an hour and 1/2 before the office opened at 9:00 am, take all three phone lines off the hook, and Jon Sr. would knock off one reservation at a time starting at 9: am. Some years it would take 3 to 4 hours for the phone to settle down.
We are always working on ways to improve our online map/reservation system and have a great
webmaster leading the way. We can’t thank Alan and Susie enough for their effort and time working together. The days of 200-plus phone calls per day are behind us.
Back in the day, there were a lot more turkeys, but also a lot more turkey hunters. For the past couple of seasons, we’ve remained steady with about 200 spring turkey hunters total sharing 850 spots m/l. As usual, some members hunted casually while others gave it all they had plus some to fill multiple tags. The success ratio increased a little this year to 1.2 birds per member, which would be a total of 240 turkeys harvested off MAHA land. That’s a lot of up-close action and memories.
Six members hunted all three states, 47 hunted two states and 144 hunted one state. Out of the 6 that hunted all three states, 3 of them harvested 5 birds each which we refer to as the MAHA Slam. Congrats guys, that’s some good hunting and a very successful season. Since you must drive west of 81 HWY in Kansas to harvest your second bird, a lot of Kansas hunters filled one tag and called it a season. The heaviest bird reported was 28.12 lb., the longest beard was 11 ½” (only weighed 14.12 lbs.), and the longest spur was 1 9/16”. Once again, there were a lot of jake sightings, which is promising for next season.
A big thank you to everyone that responded to our feedback request. Feedback is very helpful in our lease evaluation process. Some landowners mandate feedback in our lease agreement to help manage the wildlife on their land. Members that deny feedback to the people providing the land they hunt on can be replaced by others that are willing to do so.
Next year we are going to condense the youth and archery spring turkey season in Kansas to two days only on MAHA land. Those that choose to archery hunt turkey have plenty of time to archery hunt during the regular season and two days is plenty of time for a youth to hunt before the regular season opens.
Thanks once again to everyone for a safe and enjoyable 2023 Spring Turkey Season. Enjoy the summer months. Susie Jon Sr., Jon Jr., TJ, and Bruce