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Honest question about numbers

Turkey Hunting Talk

Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby drake799 » Tue May 12, 2020 9:15 pm

Southern Sportsman wrote:
drake799 wrote:I would dare say nearly everyone that is opposed to reducing limits either kills their 4 every year or thinks they have a real good shot at it That’s the main thing. People don’t want to give up them birds.


I’m not saying this is wrong, but pretty much everyone I know actively lobbying for reduced limits and/or delayed start dates (1) typically kills their limit every season, and (2) hunts somewhere other than the land of milk and honey in region II. These are the guys that put in a lot of time each season and recognize that bird numbers are falling year after year. They like killing their allotment of turkeys, but more than that they see whats coming and want there to be turkeys to hunt 5 years from now.


I’m one of the people you speak of lol. That’s just my opinion. But I just think a lot of those opposing reduction are serious hunters that have great places to hunt and want to kill as many as they can There are people that would love for the limit to go up to 6 lol
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Bgoodman30 » Mon May 18, 2020 6:27 am

The sky is not falling. Some areas are in decline and changes need to be made but even there the finger can’t be pointed at over harvest...

There were simply more targets this year, hunters didn’t get more efficient over night..

I feel more optimistic about my spots over several counties at the end of this season than I did last year. With the numbers of Jakes things are looking up!

Hopefully some changes can be made in declining areas but hunting regulations will not save the wild turkey...


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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Andy S. » Mon May 18, 2020 7:26 am

megalomaniac wrote:The fear is that the harvest numbers no longer correlate with the standing population.

20 years ago, when TN killed 30,000 birds, it was just a small percentage of the population, and many males were left to mate well into June and early July.

Hunting tactics have changed since then, and hunters are no longer hunters, but killers. Strutter decoys, fanning, shotshells capable of killing at 60 to 70 yards have made poor callers and those lacking woodsmanship skills as effective or even more effective than traditional hunters. But even the traditional hunters are more effective.... decades of honing their calling and set up crafts have resulted in more toms being fooled and lured to the gun.

So in essence, what we fear is a much larger percentage of the male population is being removed, perhaps even so many to disrupt successful breeding. Remember, turkeys are the ONLY gamebird hunted just prior and during their mating season.

Could you imagine hardcore duck hunters setting up on the nesting grounds in Northern USA and Canada and killing a limit of mallards over potholes during nesting season?

Don't get me wrong... I WANT to hunt spring gobbling birds coming in hot looking for me. But I realize the resource is especially vulnerable during this timeframe, and would prefer to err on the side of caution than realize too late we have overharvested the resource.


Southern Sportsman wrote:Mega explained it well. And I will add that this concern - i.e., that we are maintaining annual harvest around 30,000 turkeys by killing a progressively larger percentage of available males each year - is fairly well shown in the reproduction numbers. Poult recruitment (number of hens with poults and number of poults per hen) shown in the annual statewide summer brood survey has been steadily falling for a decade. So we’re producing fewer turkeys each year but we’re still killing just as many or more each spring. That math isn’t hard to figure out. So there is not a magic number for annual harvest that would make me happy. The state acknowledging that poult recruitment is bad and falling and bird numbers are down in general and doing something about our unjustifiably liberal seasons and limits would make me happy.


Read these two posts over and over. Also, TN has 95 counties. If one with an opinion on this matter primarily hunts in one of the top 5 producing counties (5% of the State), be very cautious taking their opinion seriously on a Statewide issue, not a localized one. It is very akin to a Billionaire telling the working class that $4/gallon gas is not expensive. My .02
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby TN hunter » Mon May 18, 2020 8:14 am

Andy S. wrote:
megalomaniac wrote:The fear is that the harvest numbers no longer correlate with the standing population.

20 years ago, when TN killed 30,000 birds, it was just a small percentage of the population, and many males were left to mate well into June and early July.

Hunting tactics have changed since then, and hunters are no longer hunters, but killers. Strutter decoys, fanning, shotshells capable of killing at 60 to 70 yards have made poor callers and those lacking woodsmanship skills as effective or even more effective than traditional hunters. But even the traditional hunters are more effective.... decades of honing their calling and set up crafts have resulted in more toms being fooled and lured to the gun.

So in essence, what we fear is a much larger percentage of the male population is being removed, perhaps even so many to disrupt successful breeding. Remember, turkeys are the ONLY gamebird hunted just prior and during their mating season.

Could you imagine hardcore duck hunters setting up on the nesting grounds in Northern USA and Canada and killing a limit of mallards over potholes during nesting season?

Don't get me wrong... I WANT to hunt spring gobbling birds coming in hot looking for me. But I realize the resource is especially vulnerable during this timeframe, and would prefer to err on the side of caution than realize too late we have overharvested the resource.


Southern Sportsman wrote:Mega explained it well. And I will add that this concern - i.e., that we are maintaining annual harvest around 30,000 turkeys by killing a progressively larger percentage of available males each year - is fairly well shown in the reproduction numbers. Poult recruitment (number of hens with poults and number of poults per hen) shown in the annual statewide summer brood survey has been steadily falling for a decade. So we’re producing fewer turkeys each year but we’re still killing just as many or more each spring. That math isn’t hard to figure out. So there is not a magic number for annual harvest that would make me happy. The state acknowledging that poult recruitment is bad and falling and bird numbers are down in general and doing something about our unjustifiably liberal seasons and limits would make me happy.


Read these two posts over and over. Also, TN has 95 counties. If one with an opinion on this matter primarily hunts in one of the top 5 producing counties (5% of the State), be very cautious taking their opinion seriously on a Statewide issue, not a localized one. It is very akin to a Billionaire telling the working class that $4/gallon gas is not expensive. My .02
^^^100% agree !!!^^^


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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby letmland » Thu May 21, 2020 10:10 pm

What about the policy of selling our Turkeys to Texas. I had never heard of this, and it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I was told directly by A guy involved in the trapping. I think it’s been a while since they’ve done it. I know they shipped some to Texas, some to Maryland and some to Canada, back in like 2006. He didn’t say when the last time they exported any was.

We got turkeys all over Franklin, going in peoples kitchens, why don’t they relocate some of them over here where they’re about to cut the season. He said he did relocate about 100 a few years ago and requested to do that again, but they wanted to focus on banding and tracking instead, which I’m sure is a good thing, but there’s no need in having flocks of birds in subdivisions causing problems when they could be relocated to areas that have declined.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby megalomaniac » Thu May 21, 2020 10:49 pm

letmland wrote:What about the policy of selling our Turkeys to Texas. I had never heard of this, and it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I was told directly by A guy involved in the trapping. I think it’s been a while since they’ve done it. I know they shipped some to Texas, some to Maryland and some to Canada, back in like 2006. He didn’t say when the last time they exported any was.

We got turkeys all over Franklin, going in peoples kitchens, why don’t they relocate some of them over here where they’re about to cut the season. He said he did relocate about 100 a few years ago and requested to do that again, but they wanted to focus on banding and tracking instead, which I’m sure is a good thing, but there’s no need in having flocks of birds in subdivisions causing problems when they could be relocated to areas that have declined.
That's exactly what started my decline on my main farm. Back in the early 2000s, TWRA trapped 60 hens and 15 jakes off the farm next to me (they were wanting some toms as well, but the bachelor group didn't wander into the cannon net). That spring, hunting was incredible. 4 or 5 toms were following a single hen around. Squawk on a call and 2 or 3 toms were in your lap in 10 minutes. But the drastic reduction in hens caused a drastic reduction in poults, and the remaining nesting hens couldn't keep up with predation, and our local flock dwindled to nothing over the next 5 years. Before that, I bought a sportsmans license every year to support TWRA, even though I had a landowner exemption. After they overharvested my local population, I refused to buy another license until I moved to MS and was forced to buy NR license. I'm still bitter about what TWRA did to my local flock, and we still haven't gotten back to 25% of what the population used to be. I dont know if those birds were sent to Texas or somewhere else in TN, but TWRA was trading our birds to TX at the time.

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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Mike Belt » Fri May 22, 2020 9:17 am

Due to a lack of a place to hunt I haven't turkey hunted in a few years. Back when I did I also spent a lot of time in Shelby Forest. I saw turkeys everywhere I went while driving or walking around. Then the trapping started. After that the birds you saw were very spotty and unless things have changed, the numbers were never the same. Populating areas with no birds is done by trapping birds. I think in some areas they were over zealous in doing so and now some of those trapped areas need restocking.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Hawk » Fri May 22, 2020 9:59 am

Mike Belt wrote:Due to a lack of a place to hunt I haven't turkey hunted in a few years. Back when I did I also spent a lot of time in Shelby Forest. I saw turkeys everywhere I went while driving or walking around. Then the trapping started. After that the birds you saw were very spotty and unless things have changed, the numbers were never the same. Populating areas with no birds is done by trapping birds. I think in some areas they were over zealous in doing so and now some of those trapped areas need restocking.



The reoccurring floods on the Mississippi river have wrecked havoc on the turkey population to the point that restocking is needed .
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Stlbaseball1 » Fri May 22, 2020 12:49 pm

The reoccurring floods on the Mississippi river have wrecked havoc on the turkey population to the point that restocking is needed .[/quote]

AMEN!!!!
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby woodswise » Fri May 22, 2020 9:27 pm

I believe it all depends on who you ask. I have access to several counties and lots of small local areas I simply can hunt a while almost every morning. I have seen some of my local spots dry up and some explode. I have farms in surrounding counties where there is considerable hunting pressure that have lots of gobbling and yet I routinely talk to surrounding hunters that complain of no birds, Mind you Turkey hunters will lie to you! I would be in favor of no hen harvest and a reduced gobbler limit because in the long run we'd all have more of a future Turkey population. I enjoy the hunt not the kill and 2 birds instead of 4 would just mean being more selective.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby MickThompson » Fri May 22, 2020 9:54 pm

Stlbaseball1 wrote:The reoccurring floods on the Mississippi river have wrecked havoc on the turkey population to the point that restocking is needed .


AMEN!!!![/quote]

To what end though? The floods are displacing birds and wiping out reproductive efforts. We’d just be setting up different birds for failure.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby TheLBLman » Sat May 23, 2020 6:19 am

woodswise wrote: I would be in favor of no hen harvest and a reduced gobbler limit because in the long run we'd all have more of a future Turkey population.

I enjoy the hunt not the kill and 2 birds instead of 4 would just mean being more selective.

Exactly.
It's a "quality" of the hunt vs.
"quantity" of the kills issue.

Noteworthy, more TN hunters, particularly resident TN hunters, would kill at least "a" turkey
IF we replaced our 4 with a 2-bird limit.
And, hear more gobbling, have better quality hunting.

But delaying the season opening by at least a week could be just as effective as a 2-bird limit.
Combined, we're back on a quality pathway.

Ever notice how most people prefer "quality" over "quantity" with most aspects of life?
Even turkey biologists and wildlife commissioners,
yet they've done just the opposite with TN's statewide turkey management,
while catering more to providing non-residents a magnet
to come slaughter 4 in TN before their season opens in their home states.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby AT Hiker » Sat May 23, 2020 10:40 am

Stolen from the internet...

"Similar to past years, most hunters only took 1 (62%) or 2 birds (22%). Only around 16% killed more than 3 birds and only 6% were able to limit out"

Not sure of the math but a two bird limit could save a few turks. I suspect it would only save them in high harvest counties so the difference would be irrelevant on a statewide basis, right?

Seems like season structure is a "equal" way to go.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby th88 » Sat May 23, 2020 1:00 pm

One thing I often don't see mentioned in discussions regarding reducing limits....

Once a hunter is finished his limit, most will be out of the woods. The traveling hunter will start hunting another state. This lack of disturbance counts for something and frees up the resource for others to enjoy and have a chance at. Yeah, some hunters will continue to take others. But for most of the true turkey killers, their kill % is higher when hunting solo.

I'll use myself as an example. Once I kill my 3 in MS the first week or two, I start hunting Alabama. I'll hunt the heck out of pub land in Bama. I'll kill several turkey. I'll pressure the heck out of those closest to where I live. If I don't pressure em, someone else will, so I'm gonna my non-resident $$ worth. I'm all for Bama reducing its 5 bird limit. I start feeling a bit bad after I've killed 3. But I'm not stopping. Cut my limit at 3 at the other folks hunting the spots will have a lot better chance at killing a bird! But its not just about giving others a better chance. Me not showing up 5 mornings a week cuts out pressure which I do believe is beneficial to the turkey. Gives them more of a chance to act 'normal'.

I'll never kill my 4 in TN as I don't hunt it enough. But I'm gonna kill a couple. This year #2 was a jake. Had there been a 2-bird limit in place, I would have made dang sure it was a longbeard before I pulled the trigger. After that jake, I got ~5 more full days of hunting in. And I cover a ton of ground in the day. No telling how many birds I bump running and gunning. Disturbance, disturbance.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby drake799 » Sun May 24, 2020 10:37 am

[quote="AT Hiker"]Stolen from the internet...

"Similar to past years, most hunters only took 1 (62%) or 2 birds (22%). Only around 16% killed more than 3 birds and only 6% were able to limit out"

Not sure of the math but a two bird limit could save a few turks. I suspect it would only save them in high harvest counties so the difference would be irrelevant on a statewide basis, right?

Yes it would. Or atleast give others the chance to harvest them. Most of the fortunate don’t want to give up them birds though.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby TheLBLman » Sun May 24, 2020 11:11 am

Regarding that 62% who took "a" (one) turkey . . . . . . . .

We talking 62% of all turkey hunters,
or just 62% of the turkey hunters who killed one or more birds?

I was thinking most turkey hunters don't kill even "a" or one turkey.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby TheLBLman » Sun May 24, 2020 11:26 am

I do know that most of the avid, accomplished TN turkey hunters (many of whom are non-residents)
who kill 2 to 4 birds annually in TN,
do so during the 1st 9 days of TN's early season opening.

Those limiting out early do so for 4 primary reasons:

1) The most avid turkey hunters use their vacation days to continuously hunt days on end.
- - - - - - - Would happen to at least a slightly lesser extent if our season didn't open so early.

2) There are simply a lot more living turkeys during the first 9 days (before most have been slaughtered).
- - - - - - - 9 days is simply the 1st two weekends including the week days between.
- - - - - - - Many avid hunters are only burning 5 days of vacation to hunt the 1st 9 days.

3) Baiting is much more effective early season, before more spring green-up and warmer temps bring out the bugs.
- - - - - - - We would lose significantly less birds to poaching over bait if our season didn't open so early.

4) Many non-resident hunters would not limit out in TN if our season opened as little as a week later,
such as the 2nd Saturday of April, instead of the Saturday closest to April 1st (which is often in March).

This is because many non-residents are only hunting TN because our season opens earlier than theirs, and/or earlier than some other states they go hunt.
Some of these individual hunters start annually by limiting out in Florida (earliest season opening), then move on to hunt a week in some other Deep South State, then come hunt TN for a week or two, then move on to other states, most of which open at least a week or two later than TN.

No matter when our season opens, the above items #1 & #2 will still apply, hunting will still be good.
But by opening later, we get better nesting success, improving the quality of ongoing future hunting,
as well as reducing harvest losses from items #3 & #4.

P.S. Am not at all opposed to non-resident hunting.
Just opposed to TWRA exploiting this opportunity for non-residents
at the expense to both the TN residents and the ongoing turkey production.
The early season, limits too high, maybe open too many days, is doing great harm to this "resource" of ongoing turkey hunting.
By comparison, our TN turkey season is opening 2 weeks earlier than KY's, lasts 3x as many days, with 2x the kill limit.

Again, note the percentage of TN's annual turkey kill that occurs during the 1st 9 days.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby TheLBLman » Sun May 24, 2020 11:43 am

Another thing to note . . . . . . .

Regardless when we open our spring season, the number of turkeys we have to hunt is totally dependent on how many have survived from prior years, and 100% of those are "locally" hatched, grown, and survived.

This is very unlike dove hunting & waterfowl hunting, where most of the birds we have to hunt "migrate" in from other states and areas hundreds of miles away.

Imagine, if the State of Minnesota had a "spring" duck season, where hunters were traipsing around the nesting grounds in late March & early April, never mind if they were "only" killing male ducks?

That "disturbance" would greatly decrease nesting success (in part to more "sitting" on non-fertile eggs) while increasing predation on sitting hens, unhatched eggs and just-hatched birds. Future years would see fewer ducks, both fewer females & fewer males.

Or course, we don't hunt ducks during the spring nesting season,
but that is exactly what we do with our turkey seasons.
It's vitally important we don't do too much, too soon.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Bone Collector » Mon May 25, 2020 4:42 pm

AT Hiker wrote:Stolen from the internet...

"Similar to past years, most hunters only took 1 (62%) or 2 birds (22%). Only around 16% killed more than 3 birds and only 6% were able to limit out"

Not sure of the math but a two bird limit could save a few turks. I suspect it would only save them in high harvest counties so the difference would be irrelevant on a statewide basis, right?

Seems like season structure is a "equal" way to go.



I was thinking the same thing. After reading PickettStateForrest's and Catman's posts about MN I looked at the season. 4/15-5/31...Why can't we do that. I know MN has a 1 bird limit, but I would be happy with the later season start and heck if we lower, 3 birds is plenty.

IMO weather and nest raiders are the biggest factors in the demise of the turkey. I try to trap as much as possible. I have decided that i will kill anything that i can that kills turkeys.
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Re: Honest question about numbers

Postby Bone Collector » Mon May 25, 2020 4:46 pm

TheLBLman wrote:I do know that most of the avid, accomplished TN turkey hunters (many of whom are non-residents)
who kill 2 to 4 birds annually in TN,
do so during the 1st 9 days of TN's early season opening.

Those limiting out early do so for 4 primary reasons:

1) The most avid turkey hunters use their vacation days to continuously hunt days on end.
- - - - - - - Would happen to at least a slightly lesser extent if our season didn't open so early.

2) There are simply a lot more living turkeys during the first 9 days (before most have been slaughtered).
- - - - - - - 9 days is simply the 1st two weekends including the week days between.
- - - - - - - Many avid hunters are only burning 5 days of vacation to hunt the 1st 9 days.

3) Baiting is much more effective early season, before more spring green-up and warmer temps bring out the bugs.
- - - - - - - We would lose significantly less birds to poaching over bait if our season didn't open so early.

4) Many non-resident hunters would not limit out in TN if our season opened as little as a week later,
such as the 2nd Saturday of April, instead of the Saturday closest to April 1st (which is often in March).

This is because many non-residents are only hunting TN because our season opens earlier than theirs, and/or earlier than some other states they go hunt.
Some of these individual hunters start annually by limiting out in Florida (earliest season opening), then move on to hunt a week in some other Deep South State, then come hunt TN for a week or two, then move on to other states, most of which open at least a week or two later than TN.

No matter when our season opens, the above items #1 & #2 will still apply, hunting will still be good.
But by opening later, we get better nesting success, improving the quality of ongoing future hunting,
as well as reducing harvest losses from items #3 & #4.

P.S. Am not at all opposed to non-resident hunting.
Just opposed to TWRA exploiting this opportunity for non-residents
at the expense to both the TN residents and the ongoing turkey production.
The early season, limits too high, maybe open too many days, is doing great harm to this "resource" of ongoing turkey hunting.
By comparison, our TN turkey season is opening 2 weeks earlier than KY's, lasts 3x as many days, with 2x the kill limit.

Again, note the percentage of TN's annual turkey kill that occurs during the 1st 9 days.


I think you've hit the nail on the head as far as season setting goes. I think we still need to do more as far as trapping nest raiders. I understand why the TWRA is using the the non residents for income, but I would love to see the season open 2 weeks later.
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