Spring is upon us and that means Missouri’s spring turkey season is here. Missouri boasts one of the largest wild turkey populations in the country, making it a destination for spring turkey hunters.

This year, Missouri’s spring turkey season runs Monday to Sunday, April 19 to May 9, so it is time to get ready and brush up on a few turkey season regulations.

It is important to remember that during the spring turkey hunting season, every hunter and anyone assisting a hunter must have in their possession a filled or unfilled 2021 spring turkey hunting permit. It will also be good to know that legal shooting hours will be 30 minutes before sunrise to 1 p.m. and a limit of two turkeys with a visible beard may be taken during the season.

However, only one turkey may be taken during the first week from April 19 to April 25, and at no point during the season can two turkeys be harvested on the same day. Turkeys may be harvested using shotguns with shot not larger than No. 4 and not capable of holding more than three shells.

Bows and crossbows may also be used to legally harvest turkeys. It is illegal to harvest turkeys with a firearm that discharges a single projectile. It is also illegal to harvest turkeys with the aid of bait, recorded calls, artificial light and night vision or thermal imagery equipment.

After legally harvesting a turkey, a hunter must immediately notch their permit — physically or electronically — and telecheck it by 10 p.m. on the day harvested. Remember, a turkey must be telechecked before it can be processed by the hunter.

Spring turkey hunting can be an exciting and fun way to get outdoors this spring, however it is important to do so safely. Turkey hunters should always make sure to properly identify their target. They should also avoid wearing anything red, white, blue or black to avoid being mistaken as game.

It is also recommended that turkey hunters wear hunter orange while moving through woods and that they wrap decoys or legally harvested turkeys in hunter orange while transporting them. This will help prevent any misidentification by other hunters while moving to and from a hunting location.

Turkey hunting permits can be purchased from any permit vendor or online atmdc.mo.gov/buypermits.

Have fun and be safe this turkey season.

Alex Walker is a Missouri Department of Conservation agent assigned to Clay County.

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