Despite snowy start, 13 youth hunters kill turkeys in county


Paul Goodwin, 9, of Gainesville, killed his first turkey Saturday during Missouri’s youth spring turkey season. Paul was hunting with his brother-in-law, Drew Dreckman.

Jarett Hogan, 12, killed this turkey while hunting with his grandfather, Jeff Hogan.

Morgan Strain, 12, killed his first turkey Saturday while hunting with his dad, Michael Strain.

Hayden Johns, 9, killed this turkey Sunday while hunting with his dad, Josh Johns. The turkey weighed 24 pounds, had a 10-inch beard and an 8-inch beard and 1-inch spurs.

Leeker brothers Grant, 10, and Jake, 14, killed these two turkeys Saturday while hunting with their dad, Tom Leeker. Jake’s turkey weighted 25 3/4 pounds and had three beards. Grant’s turkey weighed 21 pounds and had four beards. Jodi Leeker, Grant and Jake’s mom, told the Times that the boys were hunting together when they saw both birds. Tom counted down from three, and they both shot and harvested them at the same time. Grant and Jake also each harvested a turkey March 31 during the Oklahoma youth season there.

Mother Nature didn’t provide the best backdrop for last weekend’s Missouri youth turkey hunt in the Ozarks. Snow and sleet on Saturday and Sunday morning, along with cooler temperatures throughout the day, made bagging a bird more difficult than usual. Despite the challenges, 13 Ozark County youth hunters were successful, according to the Missouri Department of Conserva-tion’s online spring harvest summary table.
Of the 13 birds taken in Ozark County during the weekend, 10 were adult gobblers and three were juvenile gobblers. No bearded hens were listed in the Ozark County harvest results.
Last year, Ozark County youth hunters harvested 27 birds during youth-only season, and in 2016, 37 turkeys were killed.
Statewide, youth hunters killed 1,725 turkeys, including 1,338 adult gobblers, 368 juvenile gobblers and 19 bearded hens.
Top harvest counties included Franklin County with 51 turkeys killed, Maries and Millers Counties with 43 birds killed each and Osage County with 41 birds killed.
Those youth who were unsuccessful, along with adult hunters, will have another shot at getting their spring turkey during the regular spring turkey hunt, which opens April 16 and runs through May 6.
For more information on the upcoming season or to download a copy of the 2018 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, visit huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey. Booklets are also available where hunting permits are sold.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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