It’s turkey-hunting time in the Show-Me State.
Missouri’s 2018 youth turkey hunting season takes place Saturday and Sunday, and will be followed by the regular turkey season, which begins April 16 and continues through May 6.
Those planning on turkey hunting on Fort Leonard Wood should familiarize themselves with the post’s hunting regulations and check-in procedures, as well as obtain the proper permits, all of which are available online by registering with the installation’s iSportsman portal at https://ftleonardwood.isportsman.net.
Free copies of “Fort Leonard Wood Regulation 210-21 Hunting and Fishing Regulations” and permit sales are also available at the Outdoor Adventure Center, located on FLW K Road.
Visitors must use the iSportsman system to check in to installation hunting areas. Permits must be on your person while afield/hunting. Visitors should also note that all firearms must be pre-registered for use on Fort Leonard Wood for hunting, which can be done by following the “Privately Owned Weapons Registration” link on the iSportsman site.
The Missouri Department of Conservation lists information about each of its hunting seasons online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/seasons. Here are some details about the upcoming turkey seasons:
Youth turkey season
The youth turkey season is open to hunters ages 6 to 15.
Hunting hours for the youth turkey season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Hunters need a spring turkey hunting permit, which will also allow them to participate in the regular spring season.
Youth hunters are limited to one male turkey or a turkey with a visible beard. Hunters should keep in mind that the bird taken during the youth season counts as the first bird for the first week of the regular season. Youth hunters may not harvest a second bird until April 23.
Spring turkey season
Hours for Missouri’s regular spring turkey season are one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. each day.
Hunters must have a spring turkey hunting permit.
Hunters are limited to harvesting two male turkeys or turkeys with visible beards. Hunters may take one turkey during the first week of the season, April 17 through 23.
Hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the first week may harvest two turkeys during the second and third week of the season. Hunters may not take two turkeys on the same day.
Weapons and equipment allowed during both the youth turkey season and the regular spring season include:
— Shotguns with shot not larger than No. 4;
— Longbows, recurve bows, or compound bows;
— Hand-held string releasing devices, illuminated sights, scopes and quick point sights;
Hunters may not use:
— Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells in a magazine and chamber combined;
— Shot larger than No. 4 (in use or in possession);
— Any sighting device that casts a beam of light on the game;
— Thermal imagery equipment or night vision equipment (in use or in possession);
— Recorded calls (in use or in possession).
The use of dogs or live decoys is prohibited, as is the use of bait, which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract turkeys. An area is considered baited for 10 days even after complete removal of the bait. A hunter can be in violation even if he or she did not know an area was or is baited. It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes others to be in violation of the baiting rule.
Review the safety tips below as a starting point for hunting safety:
— If you are not hunting, try to steer clear of areas where hunters may be.
— Attend a Hunter’s Safety Course even if it is not required where you hunt.
— Hunt in pairs.
— Have a first aid kit available.
— Take a cell phone and let someone know where you will be and when you will return.
— Know how to properly handle your weapon and follow all archery/firearm safety rules.
— Make sure all of your equipment is in good working condition.
— Know Missouri’s Purple Paint Statute, to avoid hunting on private property.
— Scout the area you plan to hunt, to ensure you are not endangering others.
— Know side effects of prescription drugs and never drink alcohol while hunting.
— Report observed violations of the law to a conservation agent or police.
— Be sure of your target. Never point a weapon at anything that has not been identified.
(Editor’s note: Some information in this story provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation.)