Abundant acorns made hunting tougher for turkey hunters. The fall turkey harvest declined.
ARCHERY TURKEY HARVEST
The 2010-2011 archery turkey harvest was 2,184, down from 3,298 the previous season. Top harvest counties during the archery season were Greene with 66, Texas with 46 and Franklin with 43. The total harvest from the 2010 youth and regular spring hunts, the fall firearms season and archery season was 54,311, down 3.7 percent from 2009-10.
Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle is the Conservation Department's wild-turkey expert. He said the Ozarks' abundant acorn crop probably also made turkeys harder to hunt. Another significant factor was poor turkey reproduction for the past few years.
"Wild turkey productivity has been extremely low in recent years," said Isabelle. "When you couple below-average poult production with an abundant acorn resource, you have some difficult conditions for harvesting wild turkeys with archery gear."
In addition, Isabelle said some hunters probably recognized that turkey numbers are down and chose not to take part in the fall hunt, preferring to wait until spring. He said this seems especially likely in northwestern Missouri, where production was up 34 percent in 2010, but the archery turkey harvest was substantially lower than last year.
Although turkey numbers are down in some parts of the state, Isabelle said hunters still can expect some outstanding hunting opportunities during the 2011 spring season.
"Despite some challenging hunting conditions in recent years, turkey harvest in Missouri is still among the highest of any state in the country," said Isabelle. "Even when conditions are tough, Missouri still offers some of the best turkey hunting that can be found anywhere."