Strong winds have made things difficult in spring turkey season

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Strong winds, like many things in life, are not inherently "good" or "bad."

If you are trying to launch and fly a kite, you welcome those blustery days. However, if you are participating in Missouri's spring turkey hunting season, you may think of those same winds far less favorably.

The regular spring season began Monday and continues through May 9. Thus far, there have been precious few lulls in the wind. Strong wind is the nemesis of spring turkey hunting. It creates a situation where it is difficult for the hunter to hear the turkey and sometimes difficult for the turkey to hear the hunters call.

Despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, hunters statewide checked a total of 10,119 birds to set a new opening-day record. The old record, set last year, was only 19 fewer.

The 16 counties that comprise the Southeast region for the Department of Conservation accounted for 866 of that record total. Those 866 "southeast" turkey actually reflect a decrease of 206 birds from the region's 2003 opening-day totals.

Perry County led the region with 152 birds checked, an increase of nine from last year. St. Francois County was next with a total of 122, up one from 2003. Cape Girardeau County ranked third with 100 birds checked, a decrease of 11.

Other county totals: Bollinger 97 (down 26); Ste. Genevieve 93 (down 62); Wayne 59 (down 13); Stoddard 54 (down eight); Madison 47 (down 20); Iron 46 (down 32); Butler 45 (down 32); Reynolds 26 (down five); Scott 19 (down two). The "bootheel" counties of Mississippi, Dunklin, New Madrid, and Pemiscot contributed another six to the total.

The same windy -- and wet -- weather conditions applied to the two-day youth-only season that took place April 10 and 11. Missouri residents 15 or younger harvested 3,258 turkeys, a decrease of 402 from 2003.

The Southeast Region contributed 306 birds to the total, a decrease of 61 from last year.

For complete regulations, consult the 2004 Spring Turkey Hunting Information pamphlet.

Myers is an agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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