Missouri youth will get first shot at one of the most prevalent carriers of spring fever — the wild turkey — this weekend.
During the youth turkey season Saturday and Sunday, the woods will be reserved for hunters ages 6 to 15. If those youngsters are hunter-ed certified, they can hunt alone. If they are not, they must be in the immediate presence of an adult.
Those adults must be at least 18, have a spring turkey permit and be hunter-ed certified (or be born before Jan. 1, 1967).
But the adults can’t pull the trigger. They are there to assist the youth.
The Department of Conservation established the special season in 2001 to introduce youngsters to turkey hunting without having to compete with adults. It’s been a success.
Last spring, hunters took 4,328 turkeys during the youth season. They shot 3,915 birds in 2013 and 4,319 in 2012.
Missouri’s regular season will open April 20 and run through May 10.
Kansas regular season approaches
In Kansas, turkeys already are under fire.
The youth and archery seasons will run through April 14. The regular season will open a day later.
Hunters will be out to continue one of the highest success rates in the nation. Sixty percent of hunters who take to the woods in Kansas take a turkey, according to Mike Miller, information chief for the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
The outlook this spring is again encouraging. The eastern one-third of Kansas, the heart of the state’s turkey range, again has good numbers of birds. The southeast region, in particular, should offer better opportunities than in the past several years.
“Turkey numbers have bounced back in the southeast,” Miller said. “It’s not to the point where it was (years ago), but the population has definitely grown after several good nesting seasons.”
It’s a spring thing
The Missouri Department of Conservation will introduce women to the outdoors May 1-3 during its Spring Fling camp.
The event, which is part of the agency’s Discover Nature series, will be at the Lake Doniphan Conference and Retreat Center at Excelsior Springs. The camp setting will help women get training in outdoor skills such as fishing, archery, canoeing, identifying and preparing wild edibles, backpacking and camping.
There is no charge for workshops, but Lake Doniphan does charge for lodging and meals.
To register or receive more information, call Lisa LaCombe of the Department of Conservation at 816-228-3766 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long-standing record falls at Wyandotte
A Wyandotte County Lake record that stood for 25 years was broken April 1 when Dustin Quick of Kansas City, Kan., caught a 2-pound black crappie.
He lured the fish with a minnow in a deep, rocky area.
His catch broke the record set by lake legend Archie Downie, who has since deceased, on Oct. 5, 1989. That fish weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces.