Youth Turkey Season a Blast

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When the first thunderous gobble of the morning rattled down the pine tree covered hill to our south, Brenden McGuire’s head snapped up. His eyes were as big as saucers. He’d never heard a wild turkey gobble before. It was a moment I trust he’ll never forget.

Youth Turkey

Youth turkey hunters killed 4,441 birds during Missouri’s 2015 spring youth season. Brandon Butler and his nephew Brenden McGuire pose with a beautiful Howard County gobbler.


Using my favorite custom slate call, I began a series of slow, soft, tree yelps. The gobblers couldn’t take it. After each series, they answered more and more aggressively. At first it was two birds. Then three. Then four. Soon, six were sounding off to my deceptive invitations.

The turkeys flew off their roost and hit the ground. For a few minutes I couldn’t trigger a response, and began to fear the gobblers had headed in another direction. Those fears were quickly negated when two very close gobbles shattered the still, thick, morning air. I strained to see them, and finally caught a glimpse of a big red head bobbing in our direction through the open expanse of oaks out in front of us.

Brenden was sitting on the right side of our blind with my scoped 12-gauge resting in the cradle of a Deadshot Fieldpod. This field hunting rest is such a valuable tool for youth hunters, as it helps hold a firearm steady, which typically leads to more accurate shot placement. I was sitting on the left side of the blind, which was the direction the turkeys were coming from. Brenden could not see the birds coming and I couldn’t let him move because if he did, the turkeys would likely have noticed his movement and spooked.

Two mature toms, with beards dragging the ground, were walking straight for us at a steady pace. Every few feet they’d stop and wrench their heads around trying in vain to spot the sweet sounding hen luring them in.

At twenty yards, Brenden still couldn’t see them. At fifteen he couldn’t. At ten still they were too far to his left. But as soon as they rounded the front of our blind at no more than five yards out, Brenden filled the scope with turkey feathers and settled the crosshairs at the base of the neck. He pulled the trigger and a big gobbler crumpled. He lay stone dead just barely out of reach. A young hunters first shot on the animal was a clean and ethical kill. His practice had paid off. I couldn’t be more proud of my nephew.

Youth turkey hunters killed 4,441 birds during Missouri’s 2015 spring youth season, April 11 and 12. This is a slight increase over the 4,332 turkeys youth hunters killed during last year’s spring youth weekend.

Hunters age 6 through 15 are allowed to take one male turkey or turkey with a visible beard during the youth season. Those who harvest a turkey during the youth season may not take a second bird until the second week of the regular spring turkey season, which runs April 20 through May 10.

Youth and adult hunters who harvest their first turkeys can have the accomplishment recognized through MDC’s First Turkey certificate, complete with photo. Learn more to create the certificate at

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler


After turkey season, youths enjoy duck hunts.


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