Missouri Makes Changes to Turkey Seasons

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The broad outlines of Missouri's spring and fall turkey seasons remain the same as last year's, but some details, such as permit types and hunter-education requirements for mentors, have changed.

At its December meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the following 2009 turkey hunting seasons:

  • · Spring youth season: April 4 and 5.
  • · Spring season: April 20 through May 10.
  • · Fall firearms season: Oct. 1 through 31.

As in recent years, the limit for the spring season is two bearded birds, with not more than one taken during the first week of the season and not more than one taken per day. The limit for the fall season is two birds of either sex. Both birds may be taken on the same day during the fall season.

Hunting hours during the regular spring season are one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time. Legal hunting hours for the spring youth season and the fall firearms season are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

One change this year relates to youth turkey hunting permits. At its September meeting, the Conservation Commission voted to eliminate the $17 Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, which allows hunters age 6 through 15 to take one turkey in the spring and one in the fall, plus one deer. Instead, resident and nonresident youths will be able to buy the same permits as adult resident deer and turkey hunters, but at a 50-percent discount.

However, this change will not go into effect until July 1. Consequently, youngsters who want to hunt in the spring season can buy a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit. That permit remains valid through the 2009 fall deer and turkey seasons.

Youths who do not buy a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit can choose from regular fall deer or turkey hunting permits at the reduced prices. The discounted permits will go on sale until July 1.

Age and hunter-education requirements for hunting mentors also have changed this year. Previously, these requirements varied, depending on what game was being hunted and what permit the novice hunter used. Under some circumstances, mentors could be as young as 17 or as old as 21. In other cases, there was no age requirement at all.

To make mentorship rules more consistent, regulations now require that all hunters mentoring firearms hunters who are not hunter-education certified be at least 18 years old. Mentors must be hunter-education certified unless they were born before Jan. 1, 1967. The new requirements apply to all mentors, including landowners and lessees hunting on their own land.

Finally, starting July 1, the minimum age for obtaining a landowner deer or turkey hunting permit will be 6 years. These and other regulations will be outlined in the 2009 Spring Turkey Hunting Information booklet and the 2009 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Information booklet. Both will be available later this year wherever hunting permits are sold.