The Top Tips for Hunting in the Missouri Turkey Season 2023
Hunting is a favorite pastime for many Missourians. One of the most popular game animals in Missouri is the turkey. The Missouri turkey season in 2023 promises to be just as exciting as previous years. If you plan to participate in the turkey season, here are the top tips for hunting in Missouri in 2023.
1. Study the Missouri Hunting Regulations
One of the most important things to do before embarking on your turkey hunting adventure in Missouri is to study the hunting regulations. This will enable you to know the seasons, limits, and restrictions associated with turkey hunting in Missouri. You can find this information on the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website or in the Missouri hunting regulation booklet.
2. Select the Right Hunting Equipment
To ensure a successful hunt, you must carry the right hunting equipment. This includes a shotgun, turkey calls, decoys, and hunting clothes. Ensure that your shotgun is in good condition and check that the sights are properly adjusted before heading out. Turkey calls are essential for attracting the birds. You can choose from a range of calls, including box calls, friction calls, and mouth calls. Decoys are used to mimic the appearance of turkeys, which can attract the real birds. Make sure you purchase good-quality decoys and set them up a few yards away from your hiding spot. Dressing in full camo is also important. Turkeys have excellent eyesight and can detect the slightest movement. Wear comfortable and warm clothing to withstand the early morning chill.
3. Scout the Hunting Area
Before the season opens, scout your hunting area to locate turkey populations. You can do this by taking a hike and looking for signs such as scratches, droppings, and tracks. Once you have identified the turkey’s habitat, look for strategic locations to set up your blind. A good place is where two different types of terrain meet, such as the edge of a field or woods. This also increases your chances of seeing multiple turkeys.
4. Identify a Strategy
Decide on your strategy before you start hunting. There are two main approaches to turkey hunting: roosting and still hunting. Roosting requires you to locate the turkeys in their roosting trees before they fly down to feed. This allows you to set up the decoys and call them in. Still hunting involves moving through the woods, looking and listening for turkeys. While this approach is more challenging, it can be rewarding when you finally spot a turkey.
5. Practice Proper Turkey Calling Techniques
Proper turkey calling techniques are key to drawing in the birds. Practicing before the hunting season is crucial to get the right pitch and volume. Turkeys have excellent hearing, and a poorly executed call can scare them off. Mastery of different types of turkey calls, such as yelps, purrs, clucks, and gobbles, can help you sound like a turkey and attract real birds. Start with basic calls and work your way up to more complex ones.
6. Be Patient
Hunting for turkeys can be a waiting game. You may need to sit in your blind for hours, waiting for the birds to come to you. Patience is, therefore, a virtue when turkey hunting. Resist the temptation to move around or make noise, as this can alert the birds to your presence. Instead, stay still and observe your surroundings. With your decoys and calls in place, it’s only a matter of time before the turkeys arrive.
7. Use Camouflage
Turkeys are known for their excellent eyesight. To increase your chances of a successful hunt, use camouflage gear. This will help you blend in with your surroundings, making it difficult for the turkeys to spot you. Try to match your camouflage to the environment you are hunting in. If the area is heavily wooded, wear forest-green camouflage. On the other hand, if you’re in a field or pasture, beige or brown camouflage may be more suitable.
8. Safety First
Turkey hunting can be dangerous if not done carefully. To avoid accidents, observe basic safety precautions such as checking your equipment and making sure you are visible to other hunters. Wear blaze orange clothing to make sure other hunters can spot you. Carry a whistle or other signaling device to alert other hunters of your presence. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid making sudden movements.
9. Hunt in the Right Weather
Turkey hunting is best done in the early morning or late afternoon when the birds are most active. The ideal weather for turkey hunting is cool and cloudy. This weather keeps the birds moving throughout the day, increasing your chances of spotting them. However, avoid hunting in rainy and windy conditions, as this can make it difficult to hear and see the turkeys.
10. Strive for Ethical Hunting
Hunting is a privilege, and ethical hunting is an essential part of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s management program. It involves understanding and following the hunting regulations, treating the game animals with respect, and using appropriate gear and techniques. Ethical hunters also abide by the principles of fair chase, which means giving animals a chance to escape and not using any unfair advantage.
The 2023 Missouri turkey season promises to be exciting and rewarding for those who love to hunt. By familiarizing yourself with the Missouri hunting regulations, selecting the right hunting equipment, scouting the hunting area, mastering turkey calling techniques, being patient, using camouflage, observing safety precautions, hunting in the right weather, and striving for ethical hunting, you can increase your chances of a memorable and successful hunt. Remember that hunting is not just about bagging a bird but also about respecting the animal and the environment. Enjoy your Missouri turkey hunting experience while also adhering to conservation principles.