The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll

Save Your Feathers

Turkey feathers that is. Exactly why, I don't know. The Department of Conservation news release doesn’t say. The only clue is “save a wing and lower feathers from the breast.” I will check on this and report back in this column. My guess is, the wing feathers will be used in aging the bird and the lower breast feathers will identify the bird by sex. This would give researchers information on peak hatch time, and by figuring that out, peak breading time. That's just an educated guess at this point. Here is the press release:

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is asking Missouri turkey hunters to save and share feathers from birds they harvest this fall for part of a new research project to help improve wild turkey management in Missouri. MDC will send participating hunters materials needed to submit feathers, including a postage-paid envelope for feather submissions. The materials will contain instructions about which feathers to submit. MDC asks hunters to return the requested feathers in the postage-paid envelope provided. Participating hunters will also need to include the Telecheck identification number for the harvested bird to help MDC determine from which Missouri county it was taken.

MDC asks participating hunters to retain their turkey carcasses until MDC materials arrive, or to remove a wing from the turkey and several feathers from the lower portion of the breast.

Turkey hunters who want to participate in the MDC research project can get more information and provide their mailing addresses at They can also call MDC at 573-815-7901 ext. 2940, or email MDC’s Wild Turkey Management Program at

The Caldwell County News

101 South Davis
P.O. Box 218
Hamilton, MO 64644
Phone: 816-583-2116

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