Gobble Gobble Hey!

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With Thanksgiving rapidly bearing down on us, surer than death and taxes, it came as alarming news yesterday when the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that this year's fall turkey-hunting season was the second-worst on record.

Hunters only managed to bag 8,300 birds last month. That may seem like a lot to a city-slicker who thinks turkeys come from the supermarket, wrapped in plastic, but in 1987, more than 28,000 turkeys met their maker.

What has gone wrong? Could the recession be affecting the wild turkey population in the same mysterious, all-encompassing way it has been affecting everything else? Is it any coincidence that last year was the worst turkey hunting year of all time?

Fortunately, no. The Department of Conservation is blaming poor nesting weather. Turkeys, like humans, thrive in warm, dry spring weather, particularly since they nest on the ground, not in trees.

The good news is, no hunters were shot this year. This, apparently, is a not-uncommon phenomenon when hunters neglect to mark their turkeys as already dead and other hunters have poor aim.

Further good news (except for those who despise turkey): the supermarket turkey population appears to be unaffected.

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