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Author Topic: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?  (Read 1276 times)

Offline Jimspur

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2021, 04:29:19 PM »

Quote
Hey eggshell - We hear a lot of talk about later starting dates to help
ensure more hens get bred. What about the benefit of shorter seasons
in regards to recruitment. Specifically, by hunters bumping hens off of
nests for a shorter time period, would that help with predator satiation,
thereby increasing recruitment?

I wonder if someone has compared population declines in states with
shorter seasons, like Missouri and Kentucky, against states that have longer seasons.

Jimspur, I will answer in respect to Ohio, were I live. I live right in the turkey woods and I listen to turkeys all year around and start monitoring the activity in the spring in March. MOst years I hear groups of gobblers and see flocks with strutters and hens up until about the 7-10th of April. Gobbling starts about mid to late March., but they are mostly developing a pecking order. By the April dates I hear gobblers on the same areas or strut zones daily. Then they go quiet for about two weeks and I think that is our prime breeding period. Hens are flocked up with gobblers and actively breeding. Then I start seeing less hens and hear more gobbling about the third  week and this coincides with the opening of our season. You will continue to see hens with gobblers and breeding happening, but it's less all the time. I think by the end of April most hens are bred. I think our season is OK. I do realize some states open during the period I spoke of that is equivalent to the second week of April for us and yes I think that hurts as hunters interfere.

Here's the kicker. All these opening dates were in existence when flocks were booming and expanding. My question  is why would it affect breeding now when it didn't then? In a crisis situation yes anything that preserves a hen and her nest is an improvement. So a shorter season or shorter days (like noon stoppage) may save a few, it's not the end all - save all. There is a bigger problem/problems. I think what we are seeing is not a single problem, but a compound problem with two or three things existing as co-morbities. I don't know if anyone has compared existing seasons.

Hey eggshell, thanks for replying. What I was trying to get at is with
greater numbers of hunters than ever tromping through the woods,
maybe more hens than ever are getting bumped off their nests.
Your flocks were booming and expanding when there were less hunters
in those woods, and this is true for flocks everywhere.

When I was talking about shortening seasons, I'm talking about cutting
seasons on the back end, so the turkeys are harassed less, not moving  the starting dates back.

I agree it's a compound problem, and then Turkeyman's post pretty
much blows all of this out of the water.


« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 04:48:19 PM by Jimspur »

Offline Turkeyman

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2021, 04:49:08 PM »
Not really trying to "blow anything out of the water" but I see what I see...and I've been at this game for close to 50 years.  I see hunting pressure/techniques having no factor whatsoever on overall turkey populations where I hunt. Now...where you hunt may be a different story. It ere what it ere. I'll stick to weather and predators...at least to where I hunt.

Offline Turkeyman

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2021, 04:56:55 PM »
Heck...habit-wise...none of my hunting areas have changed one iota in all the years I've hunted them. So the decline in turkeys in that environment can't be attributed to that. Sticking to weather and predators.

Offline Jimspur

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2021, 05:00:54 PM »
Not really trying to "blow anything out of the water" but I see what I see...and I've been at this game for close to 50 years.  I see hunting pressure/techniques having no factor whatsoever on overall turkey populations where I hunt. Now...where you hunt may be a different story. It ere what it ere. I'll stick to weather and predators...at least to where I hunt.

When you say your population has dropped and hunting pressure
didn't have anything to do with it, that's what I meant by blowing
any man-related theories out the window.
Numbers are dropping regardless of man.

Offline Turkeyman

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2021, 05:11:32 PM »
Yes...agreed.

Offline eggshell

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2021, 06:44:29 PM »
Oh, I made an assumption and was wrong sorry Jimspur. Actually, you make a good point and I would be more supportive of closing season sooner on the back end. It's pretty well accepted that a hen who has already been incubating is less likely to renest if interrupted. I have watched hens that nest on my property and if you bump them once they usually return, but do it twice or more and they abandon the nest.

Offline WV Flopper

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2021, 06:55:08 PM »
 This is not the thread for it, but I read and read and read HABITAT. I would really like to talk this in a thread one day. A turkey does not require much, but does require four basic things for habitat.

Offline Spurs Up

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2021, 07:48:33 PM »
I wouldn’t assume I understood the problems, let alone had the answers to them so I would start by listening to the hunters.

Then I would ban out-of-state hunters and you-tubers.  :z-guntootsmiley:

Offline Jstocks

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2021, 08:10:19 PM »
Specifically for Mississippi….and maybe Alabama too.
I would institute a physical tag system. These tags would cost 3x as much for NR hunters as they would resident hunters.

Proceeds from tag sells would fund specifically…..
(1) state sponsored fur bounties on predators (pay significant $ for hides)
(2) burn programs for state owned/leased properties
(3) incentive bonuses for wardens enforcing harvest limits on those who fail to tag/report a harvest (in other words “caught in possession of a non tagged turkey”.
(4) eliminate decoy use … period
(5) eliminate filming hunts on public land
(6) eliminate NR hunting opportunities first week of the season
(7) implement increased Stream Management Zone areas by double…
(8) for every percentage increase that a company charges for lease property, their tax burden would be increased an equal amount to support the wildlife programs mentioned above.


Offline bigriverbum

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2021, 08:14:04 PM »
i would like to see the ability to kill predetors year round. if i carried a 22 with me i could take a few out every time i'm in the woods or fishing. there's not a day i commute where i don't see raccoons along the road. granted quite a few are squashed. 

i realize there's concerns of people firing weapons at times of year and day that other users of public land wouldn't expect hunting, but we could make a huge dent if we could do this

Offline Jimspur

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2021, 08:30:44 PM »
Oh, I made an assumption and was wrong sorry Jimspur. Actually, you make a good point and I would be more supportive of closing season sooner on the back end. It's pretty well accepted that a hen who has already been incubating is less likely to renest if interrupted. I have watched hens that nest on my property and if you bump them once they usually return, but do it twice or more and they abandon the nest.

The only problem with these types of regulations is that they are
band-aids that don't address the root causes. They would only buy you some time, but every little bit helps.

Offline fallhnt

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2021, 10:13:31 PM »
Make hunting hours 10:00 till 2:00 m- f. No weekend hunting.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

When I turkey hunt I use a DSD decoy

Online Zobo

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2021, 11:18:23 PM »
      My state INCREASED the number of birds you can take this season from 2 to 3. You are also now allowed to kill two bird in one day for the first time.
      They substatially increased the fall hunting season so bow hunting deer hunters can incidentally shoot a turkey if the want. I hate that.
      We can only hunt until noon, no Sunday hunting. I like that.
      I would go back to a two bird limit if numbers start to decrease. Also, I'd make stalking illegal and allow the use of only hen decoys.

Offline El Pavo Grande

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2021, 01:45:41 AM »
As I’ve said, we won’t regulate our way out of any decline.  I’m convinced in Arkansas that we could close the season for a couple of years and in the long run, it would matter very little, IF other factors aren’t addressed.  We have areas that went to draw hunts only, 7-8 years ago, that drastically reduced harvest and improved habitat.  It has not slowed the decline.  While I do think conservative seasons (within reason) are sound management, I caution anyone to believe they will be the answer.  But, I understand it is one of the things we can control. 

Weather has probably been our biggest culprit, in my opinion.  Then you factor in a boom in predators (major decrease in trapping, major increase in corn baiting, introduction of hogs, etc.) over the last 20 years, plus a loss of habitat in many areas.  But, as some have stated, some areas have improved habitat yet have far less turkeys.  I believe good habitat can offset predation issues, yet realistically how can we expect even good habitat to be as effective when predator numbers have tripled or quadrupled in numbers.   Our best hatch by far since 2003 was in 2012.   It was much more dry during April, May, and June.

Offline Howie g

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Re: Turkey Decline,...What would you do?
« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2021, 07:33:04 AM »
Wild turkey populations fluctuate , it’s just natures way .
We are on a down cycle in my area for sure , a very poor hatch the last 2 years with this year being awful , to wet to have good brooding .   I try to do my part , I trap nest raiders, improve the small private ground I control habitat when I can etc . I also cutt myself short on our limit this past spring , I let my son kill a gobbler and I took 2 , after my second one I decided to not try to take my 3rd one because our numbers of available gobblers was way off from the norm . Some of my hunting circle buddys that actually give a —— about the numbers did the same .
   If I had any say so , I’d propose our state to push our season back a week , change limit from 3 to 2 , stop corn feeders all together.