Fewer wild gobblers… more hunters

By Larry Dablemont, Contributing Columnist
Posted 4/3/24

The decline in wild turkey numbers over the past ten years is due to many things. The main cause takes place next weekend, the youth season, what one hunter has referred to the weekend best used to …

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Fewer wild gobblers… more hunters


The decline in wild turkey numbers over the past ten years is due to many things. The main cause takes place next weekend, the youth season, what one hunter has referred to the weekend best used to teach youngsters to lie and break game laws. I spend more time outdoors during the winter than any of the states young biologists and I can tell you that in some areas, gobbler numbers are down as much as 60 to 70 percent over what they were 20 years ago. In some areas the decline is only 30 to 40 percent. In those areas, private landowners do not allow hunting. To accomplish that, those landowners keep youth hunting off their land, and they own enough land to keep down hunting pressure. You can’t do much with less than 140 acres with a good part of it timbered.

What I think is ahead for the wild turkey is the same situation you see now with quail, a base number of turkeys that does not increase much. The Department of Conservation could do so much with a shorter, delayed spring season, a fall season cut in half or eliminated, reduced limits from two birds to one, and a youth season at the conclusion of the regular spring season instead of early April. Right now, they fail to realize there is a change in what the wild turkey is… the fact that mating seasons are quite a bit later than they were in the 70s and 80s. They also fail to realize that there has never been a poacher’s tool greater than the youth season. If a father wants to teach his kids to hunt, if he wants to spend valuable time with his children, tell me why a youth season in May, after the end of the regular season, is not just as good as the one we now have.

Those who complain the loudest about doing that, are the ones who use the youth season to kill an easy additional gobbler. Youth seasons so often consist of elaborate blinds where corn has been scattered all through the winter. You’ll see some fathers doing things right, but too many use that early season, as it is said, “To teach their youngsters to lie and break laws.” Some southern states are doing things to change spring turkey hunting in ways to help bring back gobbler numbers. Why does it not become a priority of the Missouri department? One answer… MONEY!

Without the records to tell me, I will bet you will find, this spring, more hunters buying tags than ever, but low numbers of killed gobblers which may be more inaccurate than ever. It takes little to figure, if ten hunters in the 80s killed 3.2 gobblers, and ten hunters in 2024 kill .6 gobblers, something needs to change. That is a figure the MDC should make known… but they won’t.

Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing Company will print a book for a 90 -year-old man who was, for most of four decades an employee of the Missouri Conservation Commission, and then an employee of the Missouri Department of Conservation. The 1/8-cent sales tax made the latter agency a bureaucracy that cannot be regulated. He calls the MDC a mafia, a state within a state. When you read what he saw and experienced, you will have a hard time ever believing anything that bureaucracy tells us. He is not someone without the knowledge, he was a high-ranking employee. No newspaper or television station would allow what he says to reach public ears. You can read the book of this honest man and make your own decisions.

He tells me the female MDC director is about to be replaced and doesn’t want to go. I interviewed her once for 4 hours, and can tell you that amongst the inefficient directors the MDC has had, she is the worst. But as for a replacement, he or she will be as bad, a puppet controlled by that ‘mafia’ as Mister _____ calls it. You will know who he is later this year when one of the most revealing books ever written about that state agency is made available to all.

I have to go to court next week to counter charges made by the local Walmart because of what I have written about them and the local police. Being a writer who tells the truth is a dangerous occupation. Come support me at that if you believe in the first amendment. Or read about it on the website below, along with other columns

I write, and see photos I take, like those two gobblers I shot this week. All on www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com my mailing address is P.O. Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 the email address is lightninridge47@gmail.com. You can call my office, 417-777-5227.