New report from MDC shows turkey hunters could strike out this fall

| September 29, 2017
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MISSOURI — Turkey hunters can expect a challenging fall season, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Each year, the Missouri Department studies statewide turkey production through the wild turkey-brood survey. This years survey showed statewide turkey production was below average.

According to the report, there was a 43% decrease in the five year average for the poult-to-hen ratio. It registered as 0.8, which is the same last year, but a dramatic change from the five year average. The poult-to-hen ratio varies across the state, which can be seen on the map below.

2017 brood

Esperts think the heavy rainfall and flooding could be the cause of the decline.

MDC Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle stated, “We undoubtedly lost quite a few nests to flooding this year,” said Isabelle. “Even for the nests that escaped the high water, hens that are wet during incubation give off more odor than they do when they’re dry, which increases their chance of being located by a predator.”

Hunters can still find birds, although they may not be in open areas where they are visible. Isabelle credits this to a good acorn production, which drives turkeys into wooded areas to find food.

Fall season also sees fewer hunters, with only 15,000 permits compared to 100,000 permits sold during the spring.

More information on turkey hunting and the report can be found at mdc.mo.gov.

 

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