The call to alter regulations? Purpose?

Thread starter #1

Covehnter

Senior Member
It's hard to ignore the cries from many to adjust season dates and/ or bag limits for turkeys in the near future. What is the goal if doing so? From what I gather, it's to take fewer male turkeys from the population. If I am wrong in this observation ignore the remainder of this thread. Because I've missed the "boat" (again).

But shouldn't there be other options to reduce the number of male turkeys harvested without taking away opportunities (reduced season/ limits)? With reducing opportunities you would be discouraging participation. Seems like with a few adjustments you could have the best of both worlds. Just a thought.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
Do you mean if you have a known three gobblers on your place then don’t shoot all three?
Or do you mean just because they have a red head and you shoot only to find out they were jakes, so now you can complain about not having any turkeys next year?
Or is it the fact you have turkeys and i don’t so something must be done about it? Even though you manage your predators and I don’t shouldn’t have any bearing on my complaining.
Pretty sure you hunt public land yet manage to kill turkeys. Just curious how many you heard and shot from the gate? Or did you actually have to walk a mile or 12 to get to them?

It’s funny...come deer season these same people will be complaining of no deer either.
 
Turkey population will go in ebbs and flows. Mostly because of successful or non-successful hatching. And, there are many causes including wet conditions and predation.

I agree with the DNR effort to make a stab at increasing the population numbers. However, most hens are bred by opening day of turkey season, and a hen can store sperm for up to 90 days. if protecting the young gobblers makes law enforcement and other hunter feel better so be it. IMHO this will make zero difference.

I am not sure what happened in the piedmont region. (everywhere was not effected) but I am not seeing birds in places where there at one time was plenty of birds and they cannot be hunted in these areas. Around the power plant at lake Julliet is an example. Not even employees can hunt there. I am thinking some kind of avian flu got to the flocks, but that is a guess.

In closing law enforcement has my support, but shortening the season, changing the limit, the taking of jakes illegal will not have a significant impact.

Most of the crying is coming from turkey hunters who are trying to get paid by clients, and they are not hearing any birds. They need to get a real job, because they are going to starve to death.

s&r
 
Thread starter #4

Covehnter

Senior Member
I believe taking measures like shortening seasons and reducing limits is a pacifier to quiet the masses. As the noise gets louder, those that feel responsible or perceive themselves as such, assume making a change will show their concern while they know it will have very little impact. Purely an opinion. In reality, it's no fault of theirs if the populations are declining. It's environmental change. Another opinion I suppose.

Wouldn't a measure like making jake gobblers illegal add additional birds to the next years crop?
 

HD28

Senior Member
Got to try something! The definition of insanity is doing to same thing expecting different results! And yes, I think making jakes illegal is a good idea as well.
 

Timber1

Senior Member
In the early 90's the powers that be took the Peeples Lake area out of the State Park system. Up until then that area had been part of Fort Mountain State Park and no hunting was allowed. When they opened that area to hunting it was a turkey bonanza. A decent turkey hunter could go in there and kill 3 gobblers in a week if he so desired. You could go to the overlooks early on a spring morning and hear 10,12, 15 birds gobbling from one spot.
You could stand at the gate on the back of the property and hear numerous birds fire off up on Tatum Lead. It didn't take long til word got out and there were hunters all over that place. Ten years later it was still a decent place to turkey hunt, but not what it had been the first five years or so. Now it is just an average to below average place and almost everyone I know that hunted it has moved on to greener pastures so to speak.
Were the birds overkilled or did the hunting pressure just get too much for them and they moved to more secluded areas? I don't know, but it was probably one or the other. I don't believe turkeys handle stress well and human interaction with them has negative effects on their well being and abilities to successfully breed, hatch, and live til maturity.
 

XIronheadX

Senior Member
Is anyone hunting private land, without much pressure, and not seeing turkeys? That would be the question for me. I've never hunted public land, and I can't imagine what a mob scene it may be in some areas. Running that many hunters through available land. The best place I had to turkey hunt through the years, no doubt had the most coyotes. They didn't seem to affect the population. Although they messed up a few hunts. I saw a lot of gobblers this year, and we limit ourselves to 2. I'd say the avg. is about 6 or 7 kills on 3 thousand acres.

I haven't witnessed a major decline so far in my years. I've witnessed good turkey habitat be turned into pine mostly. Luckily I've been on large tracts with diverse habitat they move to.

I'd say numbers are down mostly from nest predation(coons mainly), the weather, and habitat. I think it's affected in minor ways from the amount of hunters pursuing a flock of 300k with a portion being gobblers, and legal tactics improving the odds of novice hunters.
 
Thread starter #8

Covehnter

Senior Member
I'd say numbers are down mostly from nest predation(coons mainly), the weather, and habitat. I think it's affected in minor ways from the amount of hunters pursuing a flock of 300k with a portion being gobblers, and legal tactics improving the odds of novice hunters.
I would very much agree with this statement.

If decreasing the number of gobblers taken is the goal, It seems more logical to make changes that would alter these tactics rather that decreasing opportunity.
 

XIronheadX

Senior Member
I know 50% more would survive where I'm at. That would be 3 or 4 for next year.

And I enjoyed your pics on the Pinhoti page. Keep up the good work.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
I know 50% more would survive where I'm at. That would be 3 or 4 for next year.

And I enjoyed your pics on the Pinhoti page. Keep up the good work.
Got to leave some seed...I saw a group of three gobblers two weeks before season ended and one of those would have been my best beard to date. I believe I could have killed any one of those birds with ease. But we limit ourselves on this property to just one each. So 3 gobblers on 2700ac. Another property I have to myself is very small acreage and I only shoot one bird there. I may kill one or take someone to kill one, but only one of that property.
I too would like to see a no jake rule. I know there’s those that would complain of a bird with a full fan and beard rot couldn’t be shot, but I believe those instances are few and far between. I’ve eaten tag soup out of state before with gobbling birds that wouldn’t go in strut and I couldn’t see beards.
 

XIronheadX

Senior Member
Yep seed is good. Last one was with 4 others, saw one on right of way strutting, and one in road before the highway. Then quite a few jakes as well. Next season should be good. Trail cams are still out taking inventory.
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
When they opened a Turkey season in my area the limit was one (1) gobbler per year. If it was necessary I would not be uncomfortable returning to that same limit. But I've been hunting them for a long time now, I remember when there were no turkeys to hunt, period. Except in far off counties.
As far as I'm concerned a 3 turkey limit has always been a temporary thing depending wholly on the population trends at the time, even though many have become accustomed to hunting for 3 gobblers each spring.
What I would like to see is the results of research done to determine the decline of the wild turkey in our woods. If you don't know what the cause really is then any new regulations are just a knee jerk reaction not likely to improve the problem at all.
 
Until 2 years ago I had only hunted turkeys in Stephens county. I had no reason to go anywhere else. There were lots of birds and I had decent places to go. It was not a problem for me to take a couple of birds thru the season. That changed over a very short period of time. 2-3 years. Its 7-8 years later now. I can show you fields in the spring that used to have 30+ hens in a flock. Now there are none or very few.

I believe some kind of disease wiped them out.

I think poor hatches and increased predation is keeping the numbers low.

I don't see more hunters than in years past. I see less. But Stephens county is not hunting destination either.
 

Gut_Pile

Senior Member
I don't know the answer, and I'm not sure you can say one thing has caused the decline. Dave, you are in an area of the state that doesn't seem to be experiencing a decline, but there are several that are. I lived 28 years in Spalding and Coweta counties, and while they are still some turkeys around to hunt, the places I have seen turkeys my whole life are now void. They aren't showing up in new places either. Even the place in the mountains we have both hunted is 1/3 of what it once was.

Habitat, Predators, Harvest are the three things that effect population. We have less habitat, and more predators. The DNR can't control habitat nor predators, so if they are wanting to get involved, the only thing they can change is regulation.

We'll see what happens.
 
I hunt private land in the southwest part of the state, and what concerns me most is the apparent decline in the hen population. At least on the main tract I hunt. I don't have an answer for it as we aren't killing hens and the habitat hasn't changed but I can remember 7-8 years ago seeing 6-8-10 hens on any given morning during turkey season. I still see a few, but its 1-2 here and there. Nothing like it used to be. The hunting has probably gotten better in all reality as a result but it still concerns me for the population.
 

HD28

Senior Member
People probably didn't think anything was wrong when the bobwhite quail population started declining too! Now it's too late. If you let things just be, you may not like the results!
 

Hooty Hoot

Senior Member
I don't mean to insult the DNR folks around here but probably will with the following statement. The game management people in our state use the "who is crying the loudest" method of managing our wildlife. Turkey populations are cyclical and will gravitate to the best habitat for certain times of the year. Turkeys are like rabbits in that they have a lot of enemies, both weather and predator related.

As far as deer populations, there are only two reasons not to have any. You either have poor habitat or you killed them all.
 

mguthrie

Senior Member
I've got a buddy that believes farmers spreading chicken waste on their fields is responsible for a decline in some areas that he hunts. We haven't seen much if any decline on our club. I see flocks of 20-30 hens during deer season. I turkey hunted the same areas and didn't call in a single hen but the gobblers were there
 
Thread starter #19

Covehnter

Senior Member
The DNR can't control habitat nor predators, so if they are wanting to get involved, the only thing they can change is regulation.

We'll see what happens.
I agree. I hope they consider all options when altering regulations. Not the knee jerk limit drop or shortening seasons. Both of those responses would decrease the amount of opportunity.
 
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