The Missouri Department of Conservation says a mild winter and early spring could help turkey hunters in the long run.
Department scientist Jason Isabelle says the condition of Missouri's wild turkey population is as good as possible for this time of the year, meaning hens could have a productive year.
Isabelle estimated the size of the statewide turkey flock at about 440,000 last fall -- down about 30 percent from 2001. The main cause of the decrease was several years of unfavorable weather during the nesting and brood-rearing period from April through June.
The Missouri spring turkey season runs from April 16 through May 6. A special youth turkey season is scheduled this weekend.