Eye Opposes All Day Spring Turkey Hunting in Missouri
June 19, 2005

I do not advocate all day hunting turkey in my home state of Missouri. While I certainly agree with most issues our MDC brings to the table, all day spring hunting is not one of them. Missouri has the finest Eastern turkey hunting and gobbling in America; if it is not broke, don’t fix it.

I heard that one reason for a possible change is additional recreation, additional opportunities for hunters.

The change to a three-week season a few years ago was an excellent choice for additional recreation and opportunity. Maybe adding yet another week of morning hunting to the current spring season would take care of the “Recreation, opportunity issue.

Besides, I believe four weeks would allow hunters to hit that peak gobbling, hen on the nest thing. Lets face it; Mo hunters want to hear gobbling. An additional week of morning hunting would certainly provide opportunity to hear gobbling as well as “additional recreation” more so than afternoon hunting.

Today’s biggest complaint from our hunters is, why are they not gobbling, "what’s wrong with the turkeys?"

All day hunting would not be a factor in additional gobbling, but a factor in less gobbling. Added all day pressure on turkeys would shut them down, change their daily routine. I am not just speculating here, I have hunted turkeys for some plus forty years, forty states and have hunted numerous states with all day hunting.

Lets take a look at some of the Southern States, Alabama for example, that state boast of high turkey numbers but has little gobbling, if any, during their season.

I have completed a lot of work in the area of pressure on birds. We completed ten years of research on human pressure during those test. One test was not to disturb turkeys in the afternoon in hunting areas; we allowed the birds to strut, feed, breed, and hens to tend the nest.

The result, turkeys somewhat predictable, using the same roost areas, a ton of gobbling at daylight for my morning hunt.

During those same test, we did not allow any trucks, ATV or walking for that matter in any of our hunting areas. We alternated our hunting areas and allowed those areas to rest; we had gobbling turkeys and quality hunting throughout the season.

If hunters were to “run and gun” through those same open areas in the afternoon, it is over, turkeys would in fact would shut down.

Another reason I oppose the change is I guide writers, shoot television shows and work promotional hunts. All day is just too much. We have to rest sometime, have meeting etc. I also think fourteen available morning hours should be adequate for turkey hunting.

With all day hunting, if I were to run a camp in Missouri. I would have to up at 2:30 AM, hunt all day, roost birds, dinner at ten at night, bed at midnight. No time for meetings, visiting, anything.

Missouri’s turkey hunters have the finest turkey hunting and gobbling found anywhere in America right now, Turkey numbers at an all time high. Put a couple hundred thousand turkey hunters in the field in the afternoon until dark, that will change everything.

I visit and talk with thousands of turkey hunters at sports shows, seminars, turkey calling contest and hunting shows. Some of the things I hear from those that have all day hunting in their state are very disturbing. Many Iowa hunters say they wait at roost sites and ambush turkeys when they return to the roost at night.

What I heard most from the complaining of these hunters is afternoon hunting is just not very good. Nothing like early morning with limited gobbling if any. Most do not go back out until after 4:30 PM.

I have hunted with an Outfitter in Iowa that will not take his hunters out until after 4:30 PM for the after noon hunt.

At this time there is not enough information to know if afternoon hunting will eventually affect the turkey population, but it is possible in the long run if turkeys are not allowed to do their thing undisturbed throughout the afternoon.

I do believe the added pressure of all day hunting in Missouri will bring our quality turkey hunting and gobbling to a screaming halt, just like southern states, tons of turkeys, no gobbling.


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