Missouri turkey hunting has been the subject of concern with reduced kill numbers during recent years. It looks like maybe better times are ahead.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri hunters shot more turkeys during the first week of the spring hunting season than they did during the same period last year. This is the first increase since 2004.

–This year’s first-week total of 21,765 turkeys represents a 15.8 percent increase from 2011.

–It’s 2.1 percent more than the previous five-year average.

–Top counties were Franklin (467 turkeys) Ste. Genevieve (439) and Texas (433).

“Hunters checked 5,748 jakes during the first week of the season,” says Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle who supervises wild turkey management for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). “That is a 61 percent increase from 2011. The number of mature gobblers in the harvest was only up by about 800 birds, so birds hatched last year accounted for nearly three-quarters of the harvest increase.”

He says this is due to the good 2011 hatch that was observed throughout much of Missouri.

Read the full MDC report here.

No word as to whether the home-wrecking Missouri wild turkey was part of the kill total…