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#3668337 - 05/12/14 09:01 AM How'd your county do?
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: Hardeman

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We did a little better than last year in Hardeman and killed 482 to finally stop the 4 year downward spiral in harvest (658, 603, 544, 459). And to think back in 2004 nearly twice as many birds...952 ended up in the smokehouse. One year a trend does not make but hopefully we'll continue to see a little bit of a rebound in the years ahead. 30,911 for the state tally.

Click here here to take a look and put in 3/22 through today for your date range.

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#3668353 - 05/12/14 09:26 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
letsgohunting
4 Point


Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 321
Loc: Tennessee

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Maury 1004 WOW!!
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#3668362 - 05/12/14 09:45 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: letsgohunting]
Setterman
8 Point


Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 2396
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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Maury is an insane number. My counties are right about normal except Scott is a little down and Morgan is pitiful.

I can say this that hunting just a couple of miles in KY is a whole different world from a couple miles south in TN. I literally can see TN from several places I hunt in KY and there's no comparison in the numbers of birds.

I'm not implying our population is in peril but the bird numbers across the border are astronomical. Plenty to hunt in TN as well, but not nearly as many as there were a few years ago

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#3668369 - 05/12/14 09:49 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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Lincoln county had 612 in 2013. Only 474 in 2014. Looks like a big drop, but it isn't alarming to me. Several of the Saturdays or days that I went to my Lincoln county spot was bad gobbling weather. That means that it made it harder for hard core turkey hunters, and the fair weather guys didn't even attempt at going.

Giles county had 604 in 2014, and 645 in 2013. Not really a big differnece. Looks like it has remained fairly steady (but trending downward) for the past three to four years. I cannot get it to reseearch earlier than 2006. 2006 was big year and then the drop off year was 2007. Went from 890 in 2006 to 738 in 2007. Steady downfall every year after. (Along with what I have been saying along with you others with concerns.)

Only hunted Lawrence one time (because there isn't many there any longer.) Heard one turkey gobble on roost. They had 251 killed in 2014, which is dismal compared to the early to mid 2000s when 450 birds where being checked in. With the huge wildernesses that Lawrence county consist of there is for sure something wrong. It could be weather, disease, predation, etc. Lawrence and Giles are pretty much the same habitat, with Lawrence being better (with less people, towns, and cities.)

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#3668375 - 05/12/14 09:56 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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I still would like to see TWRA some how come up with and enforce more zones instead of statewide everything the same. TN is a huge state with three different major types of habitats.

Giles and Lawrence county, which is where 80% of my observations are done, need to be looked at. Highway 64 is a good line to use. North of it is turkey heaven, south of it is turkey hell.

And these counties are the same habitat, not the three major differences I stated about in the first part of my post.


Edited by woodsman87 (05/12/14 09:57 AM)

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#3668378 - 05/12/14 09:59 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
Setterman
8 Point


Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 2396
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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I personally believe that over time our really high spring limit will begin to have an effect when combined with all the new gear which makes turkeys easy to kill.

I'm not saying it's the end of the world but our limit is extremely high compared to the vast majority of states.

I also feel that dropping us back to 3 birds would help maintain good turkey numbers statewide

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#3668379 - 05/12/14 10:01 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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I forgot to mention Wayne, which I haven't hunted in 4-5 years because my spot I had over there fails to produce anything any more. It has remained in a steady downward trend since 2006 as well. In my experience dealing with turkey nesting and brood rearing habitat, Wayne County TN has the best habitat of the counties I hunt in(Lawrence, Giles, Lincoln.)
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#3668380 - 05/12/14 10:04 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Setterman]
Roost 1
10 Point


Registered: 07/24/11
Posts: 4351
Loc: KY

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Sounds like TN only killed roughly 1000 more than KY. We only have a 2 bird limit and 3 less weeks of season. Maybe we have more hunters because I do not believe we have more turkeys..No place in KY that I know of compares to middle TN as far as turkey numbers go.
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#3668381 - 05/12/14 10:04 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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I forgot to mention Wayne, which I haven't hunted in 4-5 years because my spot I had over there fails to produce anything any more. It has remained in a steady downward trend since 2006 as well. In my experience dealing with turkey nesting and brood rearing habitat, Wayne County TN has the best habitat of the counties I hunt in(Lawrence, Giles, Lincoln.)
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#3668382 - 05/12/14 10:05 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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double post..

Edited by woodsman87 (05/12/14 10:11 AM)

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#3668385 - 05/12/14 10:11 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Roost 1]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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 Originally Posted By: Roost 1
Sounds like TN only killed roughly 1000 more than KY. We only have a 2 bird limit and 3 less weeks of season. Maybe we have more hunters because I do not believe we have more turkeys..No place in KY that I know of compares to middle TN as far as turkey numbers go.


That is an interesting observation. I have always thought KY had more birds than TN, at least in the last 6-8 years.

Middle TN is known for having lots of turkeys. But in the southern middle TN portion where my stomping grounds are isn't the case any more.

Giles once was one of the top harvest number counties, and If I remember correctly Giles, Dickson, and Green where the three perennial powers of killing 800-900 birds every year. I am going off rememberence, because I don't have any data with me and I cannot get the harvest reports on the website to work prior 2005. Lawrence, Linconl, and Wayne were also in the tops, but that would be based on per capita of actual hunters. Wayne and Lawrence county human population isn't as high as some of the other counties.

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#3668391 - 05/12/14 10:16 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Setterman]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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 Originally Posted By: Setterman
Maury is an insane number. My counties are right about normal except Scott is a little down and Morgan is pitiful.

I can say this that hunting just a couple of miles in KY is a whole different world from a couple miles south in TN. I literally can see TN from several places I hunt in KY and there's no comparison in the numbers of birds.

I'm not implying our population is in peril but the bird numbers across the border are astronomical. Plenty to hunt in TN as well, but not nearly as many as there were a few years ago


I have always noticed that compared to North/middle and Northwestern Alabama. Used to be everybody trying to find land or leases just a few miles north of the AL/TN state line. Was truly a whole different world. As of now, that line has been Highway 64.

Anything to do with the slow steady northern migration and infiltration of armidillos, fire ants, feral hogs?

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#3668402 - 05/12/14 10:28 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
PalsPal
8 Point


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 1630
Loc: TN

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Only 1100 people killed 4 birds.
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#3668441 - 05/12/14 11:06 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Setterman]
Bone Collector
14 Point


Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 9646
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Setterman
I personally believe that over time our really high spring limit will begin to have an effect when combined with all the new gear which makes turkeys easy to kill.

I'm not saying it's the end of the world but our limit is extremely high compared to the vast majority of states.

I also feel that dropping us back to 3 birds would help maintain good turkey numbers statewide


I agree and disagree with this. I think some areas should lower the limit, but not all of them. I also think that "over time" will be a long time, to do noticeable damage, and that day may never come.

As for the gear making it "easy" to kill turkeys I agree technology makes things easier, but that is the nature of the beast. However, if it is so easy, why did we not kill more year over year? This year we are down 506 birds from last year overall for the state.

My take is that while technology is making it easier, less people are hunting, or not hunting as much, so it is a wash. Also, there are areas that are loaded with birds here in Mid TN, but either there is no hunting, or they want a fortune to hunt there.
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#3668443 - 05/12/14 11:08 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: letsgohunting]
Bone Collector
14 Point


Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 9646
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

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 Originally Posted By: letsgohunting
Maury 1004 WOW!!


1141 is what I saw, still down 140 birds or so from last year.

Maury is insane the # of turkeys they have.

 Originally Posted By: PalsPal
Only 1100 people killed 4 birds.



I'm 1 of 1,100


Edited by Bone Collector (05/12/14 11:08 AM)
_________________________
Semper Fidelis!

“There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
General James Mattis

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#3668459 - 05/12/14 11:22 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Bone Collector]
smstone22
16 Point


Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 16954
Loc: Allardt, TN

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Fentress steady with last year but 20ish% down from the peak, little over 200 birds this year. Morgan Co. is pitiful, Harvest down 50ish% from a few years ago, 127 birds this year.
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#3668479 - 05/12/14 11:42 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: smstone22]
timberjack86
14 Point


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 8269
Loc: Grundy county

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245 for Grundy.
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#3668481 - 05/12/14 11:43 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
SX3Mike
6 Point


Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 576
Loc: Dover, TN

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stewart county with 393, I got four of them. that seems a little low for us though.

Edited by SX3Mike (05/12/14 11:43 AM)

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#3668530 - 05/12/14 12:48 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: SX3Mike]
762hunter
8 Point


Registered: 07/16/04
Posts: 2127
Loc: Memphis

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Gibson County was 314, that's +74 from last year

Fayette County was 376, -8 from last year


by the looks of this I need to find a place in Maury county to hunt next year

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#3668542 - 05/12/14 01:06 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: 762hunter]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: Hardeman

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Provided you've got birds to begin with, focus on brood rearing if you want to have a turkey factory. I'd think that varying nest success county by county or even within a particular county can have a huge impact on harvest fluctuations.

My place is good on quality nesting areas but a few years ago I decided to really put some effort into brooding and bugging habitat. My goal was to help them get by from the point they hatch until they're like the size of a leghorn chicken. I don't know if the results I've seen are normal or not but have been totally completely amazed.

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#3668557 - 05/12/14 01:43 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: PalsPal]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19470
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: PalsPal
Only 1100 people killed 4 birds.

You can also assume there are many hunters like myself who will commonly (and purposefully) kill ONE LESS than whatever the limit happens to be. The reason is that we want to "save" that final tag so we can enjoy continuing to hunt, and be able to kill an old Tom if one presents. Most often, we don't get one on our final hunt, ending the season with ONE LESS than the limit.

I killed 3 longbeards during the first week of the season, then held on to that last tag til the end. Could have used it, but wanted to keep it just in case one of the two very old Toms I had seen made a mistake. Saw one of them during the final week, but didn't close the deal, and have no regrets for not using that last tag earlier.

Despite my having a lucky first week, I found the hunting to be a little tougher thereafter than most years. For whatever reasons, I heard the least gobbling post-flydown I think I've ever heard. They gobbled on the roost, then most days that was the end of the gobbling. Most years, once the hens go to nest, there are old Toms just walking around gobbling throughout the day. Didn't experience much of that this year.

Also of interest, I thought we had more 2-yr-olds and more jakes this year pre-season than compared to the past few years. But they seemed to just mostly disappear off the face of the earth after that first week of the season.

In my primary hunting county (Stewart), the harvest looks to be slightly higher in 2014 than in 2013, but slightly less than in 2012 and 2011.

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#3668688 - 05/12/14 04:27 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Setterman]
jlmustain
6 Point


Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 786
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

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I have a hard time worrying about limits. AL's is 5, and they're the #1 state in the union for numbers. They also never allow hens to be hunted. The final count is only about 10% of the pop, which is en par with previous years, if I recall correctly.

What's y'all's take on all the females? Do you think there were that few bearded hens taken? Maybe it's me, but I feel like that's a low number.

I'm proud to have two of those Bedford County ones and two of those Maury County ones in the freezer!
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#3668737 - 05/12/14 05:33 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
Gravey
16 Point


Registered: 07/20/05
Posts: 19786
Loc: Rutherford / Wilson County Lin...

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2 more in Rutherford this year and 3 more in Wilson.
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#3668772 - 05/12/14 06:22 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Gravey]
Barnes Ridge Rambler
6 Point


Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 516
Loc: Tennessee

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Pickett county -180 birds. And I killed 3 of them lol. A man earns his deer and turkey in Pickett. Low densities of both.
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#3668905 - 05/12/14 08:50 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
callemquacktn
4 Point


Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 437
Loc: Wartrace, Tn

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Bedford county down 63 from last yr. 531 for 2014.
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#3668915 - 05/12/14 09:12 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
Turkman
Button


Registered: 03/15/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Arkansas

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Boll Weevil, Could you tell us some things you have done for this brooding and bugging habitat?
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#3669057 - 05/13/14 07:16 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Turkman]
Takekidshunting
Button


Registered: 03/11/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Ar

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I stumbled upon two different nests this year (in two consecutive days, 30 miles apart) that were destroyed. One was in a place that was covered in hog rooting, and the egg shells were completely crumbled into small bits. The other was in a creek bottom area with coons tracks in every mudhole. Those eggs looked like they had been cracked delicately by my wife. Just guessing, but two different culprits of nest predation.

Interesting to note that I saw way less turkey sign in areas where I have recently started seeing hog signs. I was also on a lease in Arkansas where our turkey population was down. A man joined that had some high dollar coon dogs and he started annihilating the coons and possums. Two years later our turkey population had exploded. We can't get around the fact that turkeys have been subject to predation as long as turkeys have lived, but fewer predators can't hurt...especially the nest robbers. If they can ruin a nest, we turkey hunters should hunt them as hard as we do the turkeys!

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#3669059 - 05/13/14 07:19 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Turkman]
Rockhound
10 Point


Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 3091
Loc: Lawrence Co. TN

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Lawrence county is gaining strength but IMO the number is displayed poorly, im anxious to see if they release info regarding the number of birds killed north of 64 vs. South of 64. One huge reason maury is killing the numbers,they are is the fact people are traveling from everywhere to hunt there.

This year alone, i seen nearly everycounty tag from tn. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Arkansas, and virgina.

I,dont mind driving to hunt and im blessed to have access to some private ground in lewis and maury county but i hope something gets improved in my area,its very disappointing to have access to literally thousands of acres in my area and no hope at all to killa turkey because there are none.
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#3669080 - 05/13/14 07:53 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Rockhound]
Roost 1
10 Point


Registered: 07/24/11
Posts: 4351
Loc: KY

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I also found a raided nest this yr and in the last 3yrs hogs have shown up on our property and the turkey numbers have slowly decreased....I am starting to think there is a direct correlation.
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#3669092 - 05/13/14 08:09 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: jlmustain]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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 Originally Posted By: jlmustain
I have a hard time worrying about limits. AL's is 5, and they're the #1 state in the union for numbers. They also never allow hens to be hunted. The final count is only about 10% of the pop, which is en par with previous years, if I recall correctly.

What's y'all's take on all the females? Do you think there were that few bearded hens taken? Maybe it's me, but I feel like that's a low number.

I'm proud to have two of those Bedford County ones and two of those Maury County ones in the freezer!


Alabama is a great state to hunt turkeys, but only south Alabama. Also, Alabama has no real way of seeing how many turkeys they have or how many turkeys they kill. Their tagging system is just now being put in place. It was an honor system forever until recently. The state would call or mail or e-mail randomly drawn hunters and survey them to see how many they killed. The state somehow drawn these conclusions and "estimated" how many were killed and how many turkeys there are. They have now what is called "Gamecheck" where you have to call it in on an 800 number or check it in on the internet.

Most of the hunters I know still will not do the "Gamecheck." They are so stubborn, and some reason think that it will not be helpful in setting future seasons, bag limits, management decisions, etc. They also feel like it is the government telling them what to do and how to manage their own land. Which they take great offense to.

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#3669099 - 05/13/14 08:12 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Rockhound]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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 Originally Posted By: Rockhound
Lawrence county is gaining strength but IMO the number is displayed poorly, im anxious to see if they release info regarding the number of birds killed north of 64 vs. South of 64. One huge reason maury is killing the numbers,they are is the fact people are traveling from everywhere to hunt there.

This year alone, i seen nearly everycounty tag from tn. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Arkansas, and virgina.

I,dont mind driving to hunt and im blessed to have access to some private ground in lewis and maury county but i hope something gets improved in my area,its very disappointing to have access to literally thousands of acres in my area and no hope at all to killa turkey because there are none.


I was in a check station over the weekend in Giles County. They had a stack of green colored papers on the desk, I did not ask what they were for. They were labeled with Fall Or Summer brood report, I can't recal it exactly. One of the columns was titled North or South end of the county. So, it looks like something may be done as far as the research between just a few miles.

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#3669113 - 05/13/14 08:28 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Turkman]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: Hardeman

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 Originally Posted By: Turkman
Boll Weevil, Could you tell us some things you have done for this brooding and bugging habitat?

This post might be a little long-winded but I'll give it a shot.

If you remember the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids...this must be what it's like for little turkeys. When they hatch they're only about the size of a golf ball; the hen's watchful eye and camouflage is their only defense. One of my goals was to help them get past those weeks at "ground level" until they could hop up in little trees/bushes and eventually fly.

During this time they are absolutely bug eating machines so I wanted to create areas that were easy for the poults to move through, havens for insects, and where the hen had good visibility as the lookout. Here's a few things that I believe have contributed greatly to poult survival on my place:

1) Burn hedgerows and fencerows periodically to knock back the woody stuff and encourage native plants and grasses. I also now have quail in these places where they weren't before.
2) Discourage fescue where you can; it's just too thick a "vegetative maze" for little turkeys to navigate easily.
3) Strip disk hard field edges and they'll sprout in forbs and grasses that poults can use, but with cover where they can hide. They'll also use these areas for dusting.
4) Establish clover wherever you can and encourage whatever volunteer clover is already growing. In early summer I've parted clover and it is absolutely slam full of crickets but still easier for little turkeys to move.
5) The little guys can't scratch; burn areas in stands of bigger timber get rid of the thick mat of pine needles and leaves. It'll resprout in good stuff and make bugs and seeds more accessible.

I've watched hens and their brood stay in these areas literally ALL DAY. I'll go about my days work and there they are at 815am. I come back to get a bite to eat and they haven't moved 80 yards from where I saw them earlier. Same in the afternoon, and when it gets hot they'll just be loafing in shadier spots. In these type areas the hen is comfortable standing guard, poults can move/feed freely, and escape cover is only a few feet away.

I know we've had good hatches in my area the last couple of years but I just could not believe the droves of little turkeys I saw or got pictures of as the summer went on. Even if a hen only had a chick or 2 make it out of the egg, if she can get them through the next several weeks their chance at surviving skyrockets. By the time fall rolled around, I was seeing multiple flocks of 3 or 4 hens and 20-30 jakes/jennies.

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#3669138 - 05/13/14 08:58 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

Offline
 Originally Posted By: Boll Weevil
 Originally Posted By: Turkman
Boll Weevil, Could you tell us some things you have done for this brooding and bugging habitat?

This post might be a little long-winded but I'll give it a shot.

If you remember the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids...this must be what it's like for little turkeys. When they hatch they're only about the size of a golf ball; the hen's watchful eye and camouflage is their only defense. One of my goals was to help them get past those weeks at "ground level" until they could hop up in little trees/bushes and eventually fly.

During this time they are absolutely bug eating machines so I wanted to create areas that were easy for the poults to move through, havens for insects, and where the hen had good visibility as the lookout. Here's a few things that I believe have contributed greatly to poult survival on my place:
1) Burn hedgerows and fencerows periodically to knock back the woody stuff and encourage native plants and grasses. I also now have quail in these places where they weren't before.
2) Discourage fescue where you can; it's just too thick a "vegetative maze" for little turkeys to navigate easily.
3) Strip disk hard field edges and they'll sprout in forbs and grasses that poults can use, but with cover where they can hide. They'll also use these areas for dusting.
4) Establish clover wherever you can and encourage whatever volunteer clover is already growing. In early summer I've parted clover and it is absolutely slam full of crickets but still easier for little turkeys to move.

I've watched hens and their brood stay in these areas literally ALL DAY. I'll go about my days work and there they are at 815am. I come back to get bite to eat and they haven't moved 80 yards from where I saw them earlier. Same in the afternoon, and when it gets hot they'll just be loafing in shadier areas. In these type areas the hen is comfortable standing guard, poults can move/feed freely, and escape cover is only a few feet away.

I know we've had good hatches in my area the last couple of years but I just could not believe the droves of little turkeys I saw or got pictures of as the summer went on. Even if a hen only had a chick or 2 make it out of the egg, if she can get them through the next several weeks their chance at surviving skyrockets. By the time fall rolled around, I was seeing flocks of 3 or 4 hens and 20-30 jakes/jennies. Multiple flocks like this.


Sounds good Boll Weevil. I try to do the same with what little private land I have full control over and with what spare money and time I have to use on it.

I did not know that Fescue was bad. I have never encouraged it, but never tried to eradicate it either. I have always thought that fescue seeds where good for quail and turkeys, I guess I am wrong though.

We are currently trying to convert our farm from a cattle place to a wildlife place. Planted hardwoods and pines this past winter on our used to be cow pasture. Also converted pasture into food plots. Last fall I planted Red, Ladino, and Crimson clover, along with grains such as wheat oats and rye. This spring I disced the edges of the food plots. Didn't plant antything but them turkeys sure loved it this spring. Plenty of old seeds in the dirt, grubs, centipeeds, and other stuff they like to eat.

My plan is to hopefully allow the hens to nest in these food plots. I know that hay cutters chop up hens all the time, so I thought that big hay fields and food plots might be places that hens like to nest. Now, the plots look like big hayfields, the crimson clover is done seeded out, Red clover just starting to bloom, white clover blooming, the grains have seed heads but are not mature. Maybe I can get a few hens to nest in these plots, and the newly hatched poults can have these disced areas to bug in, and tall cover to hide in. I also want to bush hog the plots in mid to late July, when all of the seed heads have matured out and I think that all the hens are done nesting. This will provide lots of seeds for the 2-3 month old poults, which is the time they start getting plant matter in their diet.

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#3669162 - 05/13/14 09:35 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: woodsman87]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: Hardeman

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Sounds like a plan woodsman. The biggest thing with fescue is it's just so thick and the little boogers can't get through it easily. As well, bigger pastures of tall fescue can make it harder for hens to see danger. Unless cattle are keeping it clipped pretty low, I'm not sure how desirable it is for a hen with poults.

The way I saw it there was plenty I could do that wasn't all that expensive, just took some time. It helped me to break the challenge into pieces and examine each area for improvement.

Figured if there were thickets, cutover, dense planted pine, briar patch, stuff like that...the nesting spots were taken care of. Worked on the predators when I could and hoped for decent hatches. Give the brood flocks places to get into the summer and fly a little and day-by-day it gets easier for them to make it.

Millet is a good one to plant as well. It's cheap, will grow on concrete, and often you can get a pretty good volunteer crop for a few years because of all the seed that drops.

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#3669267 - 05/13/14 11:44 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19470
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Boll Weevil
The biggest thing with fescue is it's just so thick and the little boogers can't get through it easily. As well, bigger pastures of tall fescue can make it harder for hens to see danger. Unless cattle are keeping it clipped pretty low, I'm not sure how desirable it is for a hen with poults.

IMO, not only is fescue of ZERO value to turkeys, but it is the scourge of the earth for all wildlife, particularly bobwhite quail (which tend to be unable to take flight from it fast enough to escape predators such as foxes, coyotes, and bobcats).

Again, IMO, but I'm not the only person believing this:
The #1 reason for the decline in bobwhite quail populations across Tennessee was the introduction of fescue as a pasture grass (replacing those native grasses that quail had adapted to over perhaps thousands of years).

Fescue will almost totally displace everything else growing with exception to johnsongrass, which is also a terrible grass to have on your property (for wildlife). Both fescue and johnsongrass go far beyond having ZERO value to deer and turkey, since they displace native grasses and forbes which were of great value.

Fescue and johnsongrass were "introduced" because they produce greater forage tonnage per acre for cattle. Cattle can digest it; deer cannot.

Unless you're a cattle farmer with ZERO interest in wildlife,
the first and foremost single best thing you can do with pasture land (for wildlife) is to completely kill all the fescue, a task you may find harder than completely killing off large expanses of johnsongrass.

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#3669276 - 05/13/14 12:02 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Wes Parrish]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: Hardeman

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I agree with you Mr. Parrish, and can recall the old timers saying, "Fescue will kill a quail almost as fast as a hawk will."

For those trying to stifle fescue while at the same time encouraging volunteer clover, it may take a couple of growing seasons. Repeat light applications of a grass-selective herbicide vs. trying to take it out with one pass worked for me. Weaken the grass over time...all the while you're helping the clover outcompete the fescue and steadily expand it's footprint.

There's places that had just a little clover naturally intermingled with fescue 2 years ago that are now almost entirely clover and I did nothing more than mow and spray. There's just a ton of things we can do to help what's already there without spending an arm and a leg.

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#3669278 - 05/13/14 12:05 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Wes Parrish]
Rockhound
10 Point


Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 3091
Loc: Lawrence Co. TN

Offline
You are dead on wes, I hate fescue. And when we had the turkey meeting in loretto, that's one thing they told us is that if we could talk our locals into creating a 30' barrier on every hay field that they just let go our quail and turkey numbers would go up. I believe it to! We had a large (178ish acre) tract of pine and 20 year old cut over. It's bear dirt now which has really opened up the area.

About 60 acres will be turned into cow pasture by my neighbor that stays clean and he leaves really great wildlife friendly hedge rows. The other 118 that we bought will end up with food plots running the length of the ridge (300 is yards) and the width of the ridge (100ish) one ridge will have pines planted back which should provide for nesting. I just haven't figured out what to do with a 50 or 60 yard border I want to make on the fields. I plan on letting the hollows grow back up unless I find a better idea
_________________________
Isaiah 40:31.... Those who wait upon The Lord .....shall renew there strength ......

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#3669318 - 05/13/14 12:53 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Rockhound]
AT Hiker
6 Point


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 976
Loc: Clarksville, Tennessee

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Fescue is not even good for cattle, though newer varieties are now out that are not as rough on them (the endophyte causes a lot of issues with cattle). Fescue is basically cheap and produces a lot of feed.

Telling a cattle farmer this is likely not going to end well, but the next best thing to do is inform them of the benefits of clover and native grasses. Drought tolerance, N fixation, healthier cattle, etc. In return your wildlife habitat will improve and the cattle farmer will not even realize the good they did.
_________________________

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
-John Muir




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#3669593 - 05/13/14 07:05 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Boll Weevil]
shopson
10 Point


Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 4560
Loc: Greeneville

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Greene Co down 107 birds from last year but still in its normal #2 spot behind only Maury and a good number of birds ahead of #3. To note, there were 78 fewer jakes killed in this county this year. Me, my brother and our two sons combined for 10 LBs, all in Greene Co., 12 if you count the one my sons juvi got and my nephew took his bro-in-law who got one.
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#3669653 - 05/13/14 08:12 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Wes Parrish]
pass-thru
10 Point


Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 3628
Loc: va beach

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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
Unless you're a cattle farmer with ZERO interest in wildlife, the first and foremost single best thing you can do with pasture land (for wildlife) is to completely kill all the fescue,


Or they can just stop shaving the ground when they cut hay. We had quail on our place but they disappeared when the farmer started shaving the hay.

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#3670400 - 05/14/14 06:23 PM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: pass-thru]
Turkman
Button


Registered: 03/15/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Arkansas

Offline
Thanks Boll Weevil and everyone else that chimed in.
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#3670786 - 05/15/14 07:54 AM Re: How'd your county do? [Re: Turkman]
WORM82
8 Point


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 1124
Loc: Jonesborough TN

Offline
In Washington co we stayed average with 415 birds, last two years were 410 and 412. This is a county that had very few birds and only a small section was open to hunting when in 1991 they started releasing birds and the whole county was opened up for spring turkey season in 1997. We have came a long way since then.
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