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(Jefferson City) – Relatively strong harvest numbers from the first week of spring turkey season are encouraging, but Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle with the Missouri Department of Conservation says that harvest figures from the entire three weeks of spring turkey hunting will provide a more reliable indicator about the status of Missouri’s wild turkey population.

As leader of the MDC’s turkey management program, Isabelle pays close attention to indicators of how the state’s wild-turkey population is doing. The size of the spring turkey harvest is one such indicator.

Hunters checked 22,348 turkeys during the first week of the spring season, a 4-percent increase from 2013 and 7 percent above the previous five-year average. It also is the largest first-week harvest since 2007.

Top turkey-harvest counties in the first week of the season were Franklin with 504 birds checked, Texas with 451 and Callaway with 394. The season continues through May 11.

The Conservation Department recorded three firearms-related turkey hunting incidents during the first week of the season. Two involved hunters who mistook other hunters for turkeys. The victim in the third incident was between the shooter and a turkey and was caught in the line of fire. The shooters’ ages ranged from 42 to 64. In two of the incidents, the shooter and victim were hunting together but had separated.

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