OUTDOORS: Turkey season ends tomorrow

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor
Bill Wehrle column

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri’s 3-week spring turkey season will end tomorrow (May 9), allowing us turkey hunters to finally get a full night’s sleep.

Turkey hunting was tough for me this year, as I didn’t hear a gobble or see a gobbler until late in the season.

I’ve been spoiled by good luck, I guess, but the last Missouri season where I didn’t get a turkey the first week was way back in 1992. I had  taken a gobbler on opening day in 8 out the last 10 years, but this year it didn’t happen.

At the time of writing this column, I still haven’t killed a gobbler, and 1983 was the last time I failed to do that. What a year!

Final statewide harvest results won’t be available for a few days yet, but it appears south Missouri hunters have done quite well, but north of the Missouri River we didn’t do as well. Maybe February’s unseasonably cold weather confused our turkeys as to when the spring breeding season began. At least where I hunt, gobblers were still in their winter flocks when the season began.

Morel mushrooms did appear on schedule and I’ve heard of several local mushroom hunters filling their sacks pretty regularly.

Morels must have been plentiful, because even I actually got enough for a nice feed for Pat and I. Maybe my looking at the ground for mushrooms so much is why I didn’t see any turkeys.

With turkey season over, we might be able to get in on the end of crappies’ annual spring spawning run.

Several people have told me that they were really biting about three weeks ago. Maybe some late spawners will give me an opportunity. Hope I can find crappies easier than I could find turkeys!

If I could find another mess of morels for a crappie/morel dinner, I’d have a meal fit for a king.

With the turkey/crappie/morels “spring fling” pretty much over, about the only hunting activity until fall will be for bullfrogs (season opens at sunset, June 30) and squirrels (season now open, but we need to give baby squirrels born late last winter enough time to be out on their own without Mama squirrel).

I’ve always hesitated to shoot squirrels in spring and early summer, because I sure wouldn’t want to be the cause of some baby squirrels starving to death.

If you’re like me and would like to shoot your shotgun during the “off” season, clay target shooting is the route to go.

It’s loads of fun, good practice to improve your shooting skills, and you don’t have to clean what you shoot.

In the area close by Chillicothe, there are three clay target ranges that come to mind: Trenton Trap and Skeet Club, Boot Hill Sporting Clay (north of Hamilton), and I believe Scott Luetticke will open Pin Oak Hill south of Chillicothe for trap, skeet or sporting clays by reservation.

Shooting any of these is a great way to spend a few hours and have a fun time outdoors. Gather up some of your hunting and shooting buddies; it’s even more fun if there are several of you. 

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column appears in the C-T every Saturday)