Though the Missouri Department of Conservation estimates the state's wild turkey population to be around 500,000, only 5,928 turkeys were killed this fall hunting season, the second-worst in 33 years, reports the AP
. At the state's turkey-hunting peak in 1987, more than 28,000 turkeys were taken down.
Really makes you yearn for the good 'ole days, when Pa shot the very bird in the center of your Thanksgiving spread, huh?
Judging by MODoC's turkey hunting guidelines, however, turkey hunting seems like something of an extreme sport. Click behind the jump to see what we mean...
For example, in the fall, both male and female turkeys are eligible for huntin'. This, according to MODoC, means that "less emphasis is placed on positive identification." I.E.: HAILSTORMS OF BULLETS!
Ominously, they warn hunters to wrap their kill in orange bands, or to wear an orange hunting vest: "A little precaution can keep your bird from being shot a second time -- and you with it."
Dun dun dunnnnn!
Never mind the imminent danger of being mistaken for a turkey (?!) and getting shot (!!!). The Dept. of Conservation stresses, "Fall turkey hunting can be an extremely enjoyable experience. The sounds and sight of twenty or thirty turkeys returning to you from all directions can be as exciting as calling in a spring gobbler."
Well, if it's as much fun as a spring gobbler...count us in!
Either turkeys have gotten extra-sneaky, or Missouri hunters are extra-sucky this year.