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#3097790 - 12/27/12 03:50 PM Land Management for Turkeys
drrxnupe
6 Point


Registered: 02/15/09
Posts: 971
Loc: Nashville, TN & Oxford, MS

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After 30 years of hunting my family's farm in North Mississippi, I have only seen 1 or 2 turkey on 2 occasions many years ago. All of my turkey hunting experience has been in middle TN. Last Saturday while deer hunting in Mississippi, I jumped a huge flock. I set up to deer hunt not far from where I jumped the turkeys and I got a chance to listen and watch 2 or 3 hens reassemble the flock. Ended up being about 20 birds. Took them 2 hours to fully reassemble but it taught me a thing or two about hen calls. Must say it was the coolest thing to see.

Anyhow...my purpose for the post. What is the best way to manage the land to ensure that we maintain a healthy turkey population on the property? Right now it's extremely thick with mostly cedar, pine, and oak. There is a ton of under brush from bad management in the past. We are planning to bulldoze some areas for shooting lanes and to cut open old pathways/roads. Depending on how that goes, we plan to put in food plots as well.

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#3097858 - 12/27/12 04:40 PM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: drrxnupe]
4onaside
12 Point


Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 5125
Loc: Jackson,Tn

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Encourage oak trees! Open up as much as is practical into grass. Eliminate as much underbrush as you can. Turkeys need to see or they wont hang out. We have good numbers of pin oak and post oak, both have small acorns which are bite sized for turkeys. We killed two gobblers this fall, and both were full of pin oak acorns and dogwood berries, and forbs. How big is your farm? Do you have any water? We have no food plots, because the aforementioned food sources, plus insects in the summer does the trick for us.
_________________________

Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Polish proverb

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#3097933 - 12/27/12 05:43 PM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: 4onaside]
CBU93 Moderator
"sheetrock"
14 Point


Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 8465
Loc: Germantown, TN

Offline
Get with forestry department to discuss controlled burns.
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#3098278 - 12/27/12 08:35 PM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: drrxnupe]
Bucks & Beards
4 Point


Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 476
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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I've heard that reducing the predator population is important...coons, opossums, coyotes
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#3098940 - 12/28/12 11:44 AM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: Bucks & Beards]
smstone22
16 Point


Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 16919
Loc: Allardt, TN

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I started off with very few turkeys on my place 6 years ago, not even a huntable population but now have enough to kill 2 or so a year off of it generally and still leave plenty for the future. My land was all pretty thick from heavy logging 15 years earlier except for 7 acres that wasnt logged on a high ridge. I went in and cleared four 3/4 to 1 1/2 acre fields spread fairly evenly throughout the place (85 acres). I keep about 2 acres of that in clover/chicory year round for turkey and deer. The rest gets planted with stuff mainly for deer but also gets alot of turkey use as well like winter wheat and crimson clover. During the the Summer, Ill also plant some buckwheat and the turkeys will be all over that when it develops seed heads. I also keep roads pretty clear that go between the fields, this way the turkeys dont have to go through brush to get to them, they just walk the open road. The one field I have that borders some good open woods (just 7 acres of woods)is pretty much where all turkey movement centers around because thats where they roost. They go to that field and then spread out from there to the other fields most days.
The next thing is nesting habitat. I have tried for several years to develop nesting habitat and it took several years to see any results but finally last Spring some hens nested in what I had created and raised alot of poults successfully. I feathered around the plot edges to create some thick nasty stuff and did alot of cutting back in the timber. It seemed like the hens this year were nesting in the tree tops that I had cut down back in the timber. Those poults were raised in tree tops about 150 yards from a small clover field and every day after they were mobile they were out feeding in that clover.
Another would be trapping, I havent done it enough but I have trapped coons, possums, and skunks to get rid of those nest predators. This year Im going after the coyotes with traps as they are a big problem for me.
Thats just some things Ive done that have worked for me. It pretty much all helps deer too. I would advise to take it easy on them for awhile too, dont just kill several gobblers because you can, leave some for the future. Be best to leave the jakes alone too.
_________________________
-QDM=Better Deer, Better Deer Hunting
-Let Him Go, So He Can Grow

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#3099429 - 12/28/12 07:06 PM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: smstone22]
Anonymous TnDeer Old Timer
Unregistered



Torch the place ;\)
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#3107224 - 01/03/13 08:02 AM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: ]
James 35
Spike


Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 69
Loc: Millington tn

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Smstone22 is on the money as far as my concern .also chufa is great to plant for turkeys . They love a field planted with taller grasses around the edges and clover or shorter in the center especially for poults . I like to think im a successful turkey hunter lol . I kill my limit in the spring every year and usually dont bother them in the fall . As im too busy chasing deer and waterfowl . I have about 200 acres and planting 3/4 to 1 acre plots has worked great for all my wildlife . I plant them each differently every year or rotate them out so to keep the soil conditioned hopefully . Good soil samples are a must . Turkeys also love pecans and mulberries . I have observed them feasting on both in the fall of year . Hope thats useful .
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#3107506 - 01/03/13 11:40 AM Re: Land Management for Turkeys [Re: James 35]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1226
Loc: Hardeman

Offline
Lots of good info above.

I'll 2nd the vote for focusing on nesting and poult survival. Remove predators when you can. Create areas for bugging that poults can feed, move through easily, and hide/escape. Encourage nesting with areas of briars, downed treetops, brushpiles, etc.

One more thing...lots of folks absolutely despise beech trees but turkeys just LOVE'em. Beeches get a pass on my place!

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