During a rare lapse in judgment, Benjamin Franklin voiced his enthusiasm for naming the turkey the national bird of the United States. While the turkey may not be the majestic, soaring creature the bald eagle is, it is part of our cultural fabric. Turkeys are synonymous with Thanksgiving; countless American families gather around a golden roasted bird to make new memories every year. This fall in Missouri, hunters will partake in another part of this tradition: the turkey hunt.
Near Bourbon at Huzzah Conservation Area, a robust turkey population thrives in the lovely tree-filled landscape. The area's proximity to the Meramec River (as well as to the Huzzah and Courtois creeks) makes it easy to add canoeing or fishing to your itinerary.
Just north of Cape Girardeau, Apple Creek Conservation Area is a great place for a turkey hunt. To sharpen your aim, you are welcome to practice your marksmanship at the on-site firearms range.
Put your skeet shooting and archery skills to the test at the Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area 10 miles north of Sainte Genevieve. Turkey hunters in Magnolia Hollow delight at the broad range of flora in the area, including trees, herbs, wildflowers and cedar glades. Keep an eye out for eagles, the national-bird winner, as they often soar along the banks of the Mississippi River near this conservation area.
Wildlife abounds at the Bluffwoods Conservation Area, south of St. Joseph. In addition to a healthy turkey population, deer, foxes, squirrels, raccoons and countless birds also make their homes at Bluffwoods.
Hunters interested in getting in some prime fishing time should visit the Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area. These 3,500-plus acres north of Columbia are home to bass, bluegill, red-ear sunfish, crappie and catfish. The turkey population is plentiful at this densely forested conservation area. Hunters/fishermen can make a weekend of it by setting up their tent on the campgrounds.
There's plenty of fishing to complement your turkey hunt at the Current River Conservation Area near Ellington − plus a nice hiking trail to stretch your legs and enjoy the beauty of the area. Four miles southwest of Kirksville, Sugar Creek Conservation Area is a prime spot for wild turkey hunting − and for admiring the many songbirds that call Sugar Creek home.
For hunting information and regulations, click here.