Turkey Hunting in Missouri

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  • B
  • 317,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 496,583

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $17

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $190

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Thick-bearded gobblers. Beautiful and lush agricultural land. Missouri can be great in the spring.

Yes, Missouri turkey numbers are slowly creeping back to what they were a decade ago; things are starting to turn around.

Right now, the state’s overall turkey population is trending toward the positive (317,000 turkeys as of this writing). It's been stable in the last few years.

Missouri's "B" score ("A" to some others, no doubt, especially residents) is also due to a generous amount of public land.

The Ozarks alone include more than 1.5 million acres. 

Still, that's some pretty tight wildlife management right there.

Personal experience includes Missouri trips for some of the most intense gobblers I've ever hunted. These bird roosted in the nearby woods as they like to do, flew down to nearby pasture land (or walked there with an entourage of hens in tow, and often a few subordinate males). 

We glassed flocks, walked creek bottoms to reposition, set up and cold called. Sometimes a bird would break off and come running. Other times, they played tough.

On one memorable spring morning, we accidently scattered roosted turkeys – often an intentional tactic while fall turkey hunting. Fortunately, all the hens concerned, and a few jakes, sailed in the other direction (a good thing).

A lonesome gobbler, just over the bench, hammered back. We set up, called, the longbeard flew down and minced steps right toward my shotgun as I looked down the barrel at the strutter.

What a hunt.

But it's not always that easy . . .

Northern Missouri toms can be bruisers, comparable to those found in neighboring Iowa. And these birds feel pressure from some of the best turkey hunters in the country.

Gobblers might go shut-mouthed, like anywhere. Then again, sometimes it all works out.

In fact, on one trip, and licensed to do it, I turkey hunted both sides of the Missouri/Iowa border (with success). Fact is, I'm looking at the beards on my wall right now . . .

Turkey Hunting in Missouri © Tes Randle Jolly photo

Fun Fact: The Show-Me-State offers a real bargain for out-of-state youth hunters. The cost of a youth license is the same ($9.50) whether the youngster lives in Missouri or another state. That's a good thing in our eyes.

– Steve Hickoff

Missouri Turkey Hunting Regulations

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