With fall firearms turkey season running Oct. 1 - 31 and archery turkey season underway, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) advises turkey hunters it could be another challenging season.

According to MDC, turkey production in Missouri steadily increased during the 1990s before declining during the 2000s. While production began to increase throughout much of the state from about 2009 to 2014, Missouri has had poor production over the last several years.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), hunters can expect some regional variation in productivity this year with the slightly better hatches occurring in counties along the Missouri River in central and east Missouri and the slightly poorer hatches occurring in southwest Missouri.

The MDC goes on to say weather conditions during the nesting season and through much of the brood-rearing period were favorable across most of the state. Yet, despite favorable weather, this year’s expected low production isn’t surprising considering the PHR trend from previous years.

But there's always a plus for hunters in the fall. Relatively few people hunt turkeys during the fall season, which results in low hunting pressure and little competition among hunters. Unlike the spring season, when about 100,000 turkey hunting permits are purchased in Missouri, typically only about 10,000 hunters purchase fall firearms turkey permits.

The MDC is trying something new this year for turkey hunters. They're asking Missouri turkey hunters to save and share feathers from birds they harvest this fall as part of a new research project to help improve wild turkey management in Missouri.

MDC will send participating hunters the materials needed to submit feathers, including a postage-paid envelope. The materials will contain instructions about which feathers to submit. Turkey hunters who want to participate in the MDC research project can get more information and provide their mailing address at mdc.mo.gov/turkeyfeathers.