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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

Offline
 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: 1329
Loc: Hardeman

Offline
 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: 1329
Loc: Hardeman

Offline
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: 19450
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

Offline
 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: 1329
Loc: Hardeman

Offline
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: 3078
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: 973
Loc: Clarksville, Tennessee

Offline
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: 4556
Loc: Greeneville

Offline
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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