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TWRA study update

Turkey Hunting Talk

Re: TWRA study update

Postby Displaced_Vol » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:32 pm

Mike Belt wrote:I'm kind of like mega here. I find it hard to believe that turkeys reach a "saturation" point and then numbers begin to decline. I just don't follow that logic. Having more birds leads to less nesting? Having more birds leads to infertile eggs? I'm more inclined to believe that hens becoming legal targets, the limits raised on gobblers, the timing of the spring seasons, and the explosion of predators all contributed to the decline in numbers. I also lean towards TWRA taking reactive rather than a proactive approach to the problem in affected areas. I think there's a difference in "hunter observation" reports in deer and turkey. Turkeys keep the same hours as humans but I tend to believe that TWRA links those two observations and thus, shrugs off the reports of declining numbers of birds in certain areas. I understand it takes trending to sometimes realize that fact but when that time frame takes so long that a major problem has already taken a foothold maybe it's time to re-examine the way you do things.



I assumed it derived more from the increased competition for food and the “best” nest sites & cover. And I didn’t think that once you got to a certain number then you us start to see this sharp decline, but rather a small drop back to some more sustainable number. I do hear about that with deer and also I guess with fish species too. But, again, I certainly do not know and trust there are those that know better than I do.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby ROVERBOY » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:27 pm

I imagine that birds maybe could reach carrying capacity but, am not sure on this. I think its a number of things. TWRA needs to rethink their turkey strategy. They made a huge mistake on the hogs years ago, and it took them years to realize they screwed up.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby Displaced_Vol » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:13 pm

I liked the earlier comment about considering prior years when setting season dates. I know it was frustrating when duck seasons had to be set in 5 year increments. No two years are the same and while I don’t think you want to be knee jerk about things, opening the same day, for the same length of time with the same bag limits just because doesn’t seem to be very beneficial either.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby MickThompson » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:14 pm

What if carrying capacity for turkeys isn’t resource-based like mammals but instead is density-based? What I mean is this- the more you have, the easier it is for predators to key in on them, for disease to spread through the flock, stress from competition reducing nesting and success, etc. I don’t know that anyone knows all the answers. Wild turkey science has never been around through a plateau/decline. It’s uncharted territory for everyone.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby AT Hiker » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:40 pm

I just want to know why they are In pockets? Places that used to hold countless birds are void, then other places that practically look identical sustain the numbers...then you have places in the middle that had huge populations but now are in a decline.

I just want to know the secret to certain places that seem to be a turkey factory.


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Re: TWRA study update

Postby JCDEERMAN » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:54 pm

AT Hiker wrote:I just want to know why they are In pockets? Places that used to hold countless birds are void, then other places that practically look identical sustain the numbers...then you have places in the middle that had huge populations but now are in a decline.

I just want to know the secret to certain places that seem to be a turkey factory.


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My first thoughts, when trying to rationalize "pockets" of turkeys, the first two things that come to my mind are 1) predators - they can't get them all, but they can roam areas that dont have very good nesting habitats (even if the habitat looks dandy from the roads - that is only 10% of the true story) and 2) corn baiters - much of the corn getting aflatoxin and killing off a big percentage of populations (more people using corn than we want to believe)

Both of these theories are scattered across the state like 12 guage bird shot, hence - "pocketed"
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby Mike Belt » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:06 pm

I had 6000+ acres leased for several years. When I first got this property we would be covered up with birds during the winter but by spring they had moved to adjoining properties. We had plenty of food sources but the big difference was nesting cover. Once we began getting better cover we began holding more and more birds throughout the spring. This lasted for several years and then the population drastically declined and remained that way. I don't have the slightest idea why.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby ImThere » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:46 pm

I’ve done my part to help! Lol I don’t think I have harmed a turkey in 5 years! Lol
#worklifesucks!


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Re: TWRA study update

Postby JCDEERMAN » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:20 am

Mike Belt wrote:I had 6000+ acres leased for several years. When I first got this property we would be covered up with birds during the winter but by spring they had moved to adjoining properties. We had plenty of food sources but the big difference was nesting cover. Once we began getting better cover we began holding more and more birds throughout the spring. This lasted for several years and then the population drastically declined and remained that way. I don't have the slightest idea why.

Mike, what was the cover? Was there some logging? If so, was it left to grow up? Was it ever burned after logging?

Was there plenty of native grasses 2-5 feet tall and maintained? I’m asking because we had really good turkey numbers on our place for a few years, until those places we logged grew up. We have seen a decline since. We plan on starting to burn this spring and from here on out every couple years
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby tnanh » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:51 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:
Mike Belt wrote:I had 6000+ acres leased for several years. When I first got this property we would be covered up with birds during the winter but by spring they had moved to adjoining properties. We had plenty of food sources but the big difference was nesting cover. Once we began getting better cover we began holding more and more birds throughout the spring. This lasted for several years and then the population drastically declined and remained that way. I don't have the slightest idea why.

Mike, what was the cover? Was there some logging? If so, was it left to grow up? Was it ever burned after logging?

Was there plenty of native grasses 2-5 feet tall and maintained? I’m asking because we had really good turkey numbers on our place for a few years, until those places we logged grew up. We have seen a decline since. We plan on starting to burn this spring and from here on out every couple years


Perry, Hickman, and Lewis county got logged unbelievably hard when Willamette sold out to Hughes lumber company. Instead of checkerboarding Hughes clear cut miles of timber and the population decline that followed was obvious. Habitat changed in a negative way and so did the population.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby poorhunter » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:59 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:
AT Hiker wrote:I just want to know why they are In pockets? Places that used to hold countless birds are void, then other places that practically look identical sustain the numbers...then you have places in the middle that had huge populations but now are in a decline.

I just want to know the secret to certain places that seem to be a turkey factory.


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My first thoughts, when trying to rationalize "pockets" of turkeys, the first two things that come to my mind are 1) predators - they can't get them all, but they can roam areas that dont have very good nesting habitats (even if the habitat looks dandy from the roads - that is only 10% of the true story) and 2) corn baiters - much of the corn getting aflatoxin and killing off a big percentage of populations (more people using corn than we want to believe)

Both of these theories are scattered across the state like 12 guage bird shot, hence - "pocketed"


The corn and aflatoxin is my best guess. I posted about that awhile ago, and when I mentioned how bad baiting can be on turkeys to guys I work with they said they didn’t know ANYBODY that didn’t use corn to kill turkeys.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby ROVERBOY » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:13 pm

Well, I don't use corn for turkeys. I do know some that do though. I put out some corn before and during deer season to get pics on trailcams, and didn't get many turkeys. That concerns me.......
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby MickThompson » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:19 pm

Aflatoxin doesn’t care why you but corn out
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby AT Hiker » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:21 am

A couple places I know of here that are loaded with birds gets the corn pushed on them hard. I honestly think that’s why they have the birds

Maybe they are single handily killing them turks but new one come in because of the corn?

Then you have KY just above me...


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Re: TWRA study update

Postby Mike Belt » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:43 am

There were a few spots that got logged but when it was it was to gain more ag planting area. At the same time there were some areas that were just allowed to grow up and there were more fence rows and areas located between fields allowed to grow up. There were a total of almost 100 different fields on the place and there was a lot of bull dozing done around them but the edges were all allowed to grow back thicker. The land owner just liked playing with his dozer. These grown up areas became nesting sites and once all this happened our birds stayed on us during nesting.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby catman529 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:50 pm

megalomaniac wrote:There was a terrible statewide hatch last year, don't expect to see many jakes this year.


Where do you get this info? I’ve seen nothing short of a great hatch in several counties and had many encounters with Jake and hen poults while fall turkey hunting and deer hunting. I’ve also heard that Lawrence county finally had a decent hatch, at least part of it did, which hasn’t been the case for years now.


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Re: TWRA study update

Postby megalomaniac » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:00 pm

catman529 wrote:
megalomaniac wrote:There was a terrible statewide hatch last year, don't expect to see many jakes this year.


Where do you get this info? I’ve seen nothing short of a great hatch in several counties and had many encounters with Jake and hen poults while fall turkey hunting and deer hunting. I’ve also heard that Lawrence county finally had a decent hatch, at least part of it did, which hasn’t been the case for years now.


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That was a paraphrase from the Turkey coordinator in the video. His words, not mine. Did you watch the video? I also had a decent hatch on several of my farms. Nothing spectacular, but not abysmal.

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Re: TWRA study update

Postby catman529 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:11 pm

megalomaniac wrote:
catman529 wrote:
megalomaniac wrote:There was a terrible statewide hatch last year, don't expect to see many jakes this year.


Where do you get this info? I’ve seen nothing short of a great hatch in several counties and had many encounters with Jake and hen poults while fall turkey hunting and deer hunting. I’ve also heard that Lawrence county finally had a decent hatch, at least part of it did, which hasn’t been the case for years now.


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That was a paraphrase from the Turkey coordinator in the video. His words, not mine. Did you watch the video? I also had a decent hatch on several of my farms. Nothing spectacular, but not abysmal.

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nah I didn’t watch the video yet, after everyone said there wasn’t much to be said in it. Wonder why they think the statewide hatch was low. Do they even do surveys on hatches?


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Re: TWRA study update

Postby ROVERBOY » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:20 pm

I think we had a decent hatch last Spring. I read an article several years ago where they did a study in Florida. They monitored 100 eggs laid. 2 years later there was 2, 2 year old toms. It didnt say how many hens out of the 100 eggs.
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Re: TWRA study update

Postby scn » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:04 pm

TN hasn't had a turkey biologist that truly cared about turkeys or turkey hunters since Jack Murrey retired. Jack would not have allowed some of the current bs to go on under his watch.
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