Turkey Hunting in Missouri

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  • B
  • 350,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 486,025

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

There have been numerous studies conducted over the years in other states involving the marking and tracking of individual turkeys. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) just finished a five-year project focused on turkey hens and their survival. This research provided much-needed data but left a gap about turkey productivity — namely, the period when hens are attempting to nest and then raising poults.

“One of the most alarming discoveries from the last big turkey research project was how poor poult survival was,” said MDC wild turkey program leader Reina Tyl. “The percentage of poults that survived their first month of life during several years of the project was among the lowest ever reported for turkeys in the Midwest.”

Tyl added: “We have conducted an annual summer wild turkey brood survey since 1959 here in Missouri. While turkey production has exhibited a gradual declining trend over the past several decades, production has been especially poor the last four years.”

That said, hunters took 34,595 turkeys during the 2021 season, down from 41,461 in 2020.

One can only hope that with solid scientific research and game management, biologists can help to stabilize the downward trend of Missouri turkey production.

For now, officials say northern Missouri remains a stronghold for turkey numbers, as does the vast Ozarks.

On a personal note, the so-called Show-Me State has provided some excellent turkey hunting on greened-up farmland and in wooded habitats. These are some of the most intense gobblers I've ever hunted.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Missouri © Tes Randle Jolly photo

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