Missouri hunters killed close to 3,700 turkeys during the fall firearms season, Oct. 1-31.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said 3,698 were checked, significantly less than the 6,158 killed in 2015.

Greene County led the state with 128 turkeys harvested. In Texas County, 61 turkeys were killed.

MDC’s turkey biologist says this year’s low fall firearms turkey harvest total can be attributed to several factors, including a poor turkey hatch, above-average acorn production and a decline in hunter participation.

“This year’s turkey hatch was very poor, so there were far fewer young birds for hunters to pursue this fall,” said MDC Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle. “We had above-average acorn production in much of the state this year as well, which typically results in fewer turkeys being harvested.”

In addition to the effects of a poor turkey hatch and above-average acorn production, interest in the fall firearms turkey season has been declining in Missouri as it has in a number of states.

“This year’s fall firearms turkey permit sales total of 11,696 permits was the lowest on record since the season started in 1978,” Isabelle said.

Fall archery turkey hunting continues through Nov. 11 and then resumes again from Nov. 23 through Jan. 15, 2017.

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