The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
By the time this goes to print, the calendar will have turned to October. The forecast for later this week indicates morning temperatures should be in the 40’s. It's time to head to the woods to experience the best days of the year.
October 1 marks the opening of the fall firearms turkey season. This season was popular 20 years ago, but as the number of turkeys has dwindled somewhat, so has the interest in hunting turkeys in the fall woods. The Department of Conservation lengthened the season as a result of the drop off in hunting pressure, giving those that chose to hunt the king of game birds twice as much time to hunt as when the original season was expanded from two weeks to the full month of October.
So the season now looks like this: October 1 to October 31. Limit, two turkeys. Unlike the spring, both turkeys can be taken on the same day. Rifles are prohibited as is shot larger than #4. That’s pretty much it.
Some people have suggested that the fall season be eliminated to protect the hens. Studies have shown, including the latest study just concluded this year in four north Missouri counties, that the fall season only results in the harvest of about 1% of the hens in any given area. That's not statistically significant enough to affect the overall population of Missouri's 390,000 or so turkeys.
The turkey study just mentioned is focused on causes of mortality and the survival rates for poults. You can read more about it on page 4 in the October edition of the Missouri Conservationist magazine.
In the mean time, find some excuse to get outdoors and enjoy October.