Turkey decline

Thread starter #1
For the last 5-7 years I've noticed a definite decline in the number of turkeys on our farm. I NEVER post anything anywhere...but I don't believe this problem will go away on its own. I'm including a link of reasons why I think this is happening.
Would love your thoughts and input.
 

tr21

Senior Member
great video ! i agree with most of your reasons. there is definitely a decline in the population . the wma i hunt has been raped by G.P. they are clearcutting and replanting nothing but longleaf pines. only thing that eats pine cones is tree rats, why cant they put a row of hardwoods every 5 or 6 rows. i cant wait for the day the Governor has a press conference wearing a oxygen bottle and standing in 2ft of yellow pollen and says "DID WE DO THAT"? some clear cutting is good but it's getting overdone
 
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Resica

Senior Member
I live in Pennsylvania. No longleaf pines, no fire ants that I'm aware of. Most cutting, at least on public land is select cut, not clearcut. The majority of the forests I hunt are loaded with oak trees. No armadillos. Cold, wet springs. A nest destroying predator is not a horrible thing in my opinion. She'll renest and spread out the hatching. Other birds will hatch earlier, some later, but if they all hatch at the same time and it gets cold and rainy lots of little ones die.

Up here, never got above 45 and was rainy on Memorial Day weekend. If all the little birds were too big for all to fit under mothers wings to stay dry and warm, they die. We'll see poults from mid May to July and probably later. Thinking West Nile has something to do with it or some other disease. Not discounting habitat or predators but there is something else involved. Our turkey population has dropped 20% in the last 10 years I think. Some areas are great, some stink, just like in Georgia. The areas I hunt stink:) or maybe it's me!
 

Resica

Senior Member
No chicken manure either, no fields for that matter. Some planted openings by our game commission and lots of openings with clover on our state forest land due to all the gas wells from the 50's and 60's that are still chugging along.
 
Thread starter #8
I live in Pennsylvania. No longleaf pines, no fire ants that I'm aware of. Most cutting, at least on public land is select cut, not clearcut. The majority of the forests I hunt are loaded with oak trees. No armadillos. Cold, wet springs. A nest destroying predator is not a horrible thing in my opinion. She'll renest and spread out the hatching. Other birds will hatch earlier, some later, but if they all hatch at the same time and it gets cold and rainy lots of little ones die.

Up here, never got above 45 and was rainy on Memorial Day weekend. If all the little birds were too big for all to fit under mothers wings to stay dry and warm, they die. We'll see poults from mid May to July and probably later. Thinking West Nile has something to do with it or some other disease. Not discounting habitat or predators but there is something else involved. Our turkey population has dropped 20% in the last 10 years I think. Some areas are great, some stink, just like in Georgia. The areas I hunt stink:) or maybe it's me!
I live in Pennsylvania. No longleaf pines, no fire ants that I'm aware of. Most cutting, at least on public land is select cut, not clearcut. The majority of the forests I hunt are loaded with oak trees. No armadillos. Cold, wet springs. A nest destroying predator is not a horrible thing in my opinion. She'll renest and spread out the hatching. Other birds will hatch earlier, some later, but if they all hatch at the same time and it gets cold and rainy lots of little ones die.

Up here, never got above 45 and was rainy on Memorial Day weekend. If all the little birds were too big for all to fit under mothers wings to stay dry and warm, they die. We'll see poults from mid May to July and probably later. Thinking West Nile has something to do with it or some other disease. Not discounting habitat or predators but there is something else involved. Our turkey population has dropped 20% in the last 10 years I think. Some areas are great, some stink, just like in Georgia. The areas I hunt stink:) or maybe it's me!
 
Thread starter #9
I don't discount disease...whether chicken litter spread or bird to bird. I also noticed a correlation between deer baiting becoming legal and turkeys declining. Makes it much easier for a coon to trail ma turkey back to nest. Is deer baiting legal in Pa.?
 

Resica

Senior Member
You can set a out a small amount of bait per day for deer hunting on private land in Southeastern Pa. and maybe southwestern Pa. No turkeys to speak of in the southeastern counties. Baiting on public land is a no go period .Bait and bait residue needs to be gone 30 days before any hunting season. If I were to put a salt block out for deer, it better be in a tray where no residue filters into ground and it better be gone 30 days prior to any hunting
 

Resica

Senior Member
I wondered at one time if we didn't have a false plateau of birds. Over the carrying capacity so to speak and they came down where they should be. No doubt cold springs hurt us up here but down there, I wonder.
 
Thread starter #12
We have definitely had cooler, wetter springs over the last 10 years. And carrying capacity is definitely a possibility. Ga. DNR has a big study going on now so will be interesting to see what conclusions are. They are also lowering the bag limit next year to 2 and delaying season start by a week. I'm hoping we can form a QTM association similar to QDM. I'm not a joiner...but if it would help bring back turkeys..I'm in!
 

Resica

Senior Member
I love turkeys!! I think the biologists get a bad rap from folks. They didn't get into the work to be rich, they're doing the best they can I think. Georgia is bigger than Pa. but you have a lot less hunters in general , including turkey hunters, although if you read posts here it doesn't seem like it.
We used to shoot close to 50,000 birds in the fall here. Fall turkey hunters have declined substantially. They have shortened or eliminated fall turkey in some areas of the state. Some harvests in the fall were probably incidental kills(bowhunters and grouse hunters). Even with the decline, spring turkey hunters here still shoot over 30,000 birds a year compared to between 10 and 20,000 in Georgia if I'm not mistaken. We are allowed 1 bird in fall and 1 bearded bird in Spring. You can buy a 2nd gobbler tag for spring( last 7 years I think), but it hasn't made a huge impact on harvest.
 

Nicodemus

ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
I love turkeys!! I think the biologists get a bad rap from folks. They didn't get into the work to be rich, they're doing the best they can I think. Georgia is bigger than Pa. but you have a lot less hunters in general , including turkey hunters, although if you read posts here it doesn't seem like it.
We used to shoot close to 50,000 birds in the fall here. Fall turkey hunters have declined substantially. They have shortened or eliminated fall turkey in some areas of the state. Some harvests in the fall were probably incidental kills(bowhunters and grouse hunters). Even with the decline, spring turkey hunters here still shoot over 30,000 birds a year compared to between 10 and 20,000 in Georgia if I'm not mistaken. We are allowed 1 bird in fall and 1 bearded bird in Spring. You can buy a 2nd gobbler tag for spring( last 7 years I think), but it hasn't made a huge impact on harvest.

The very best hunting of anything, and my personal favorite type of hunting, was hunting turkeys in Georgia when we had a Fall season. I`m glad I`m old enough to have experienced it. Some almighty good memories.
 
Thread starter #17
I love turkeys!! I think the biologists get a bad rap from folks. They didn't get into the work to be rich, they're doing the best they can I think. Georgia is bigger than Pa. but you have a lot less hunters in general , including turkey hunters, although if you read posts here it doesn't seem like it.
We used to shoot close to 50,000 birds in the fall here. Fall turkey hunters have declined substantially. They have shortened or eliminated fall turkey in some areas of the state. Some harvests in the fall were probably incidental kills(bowhunters and grouse hunters). Even with the decline, spring turkey hunters here still shoot over 30,000 birds a year compared to between 10 and 20,000 in Georgia if I'm not mistaken. We are allowed 1 bird in fall and 1 bearded bird in Spring. You can buy a 2nd gobbler tag for spring( last 7 years I think), but it hasn't made a huge impact on harvest.
 

Resica

Senior Member
The very best hunting of anything, and my personal favorite type of hunting, was hunting turkeys in Georgia when we had a Fall season. I`m glad I`m old enough to have experienced it. Some almighty good memories.
I love fall turkey hunting too! Great time of the year to be in the woods!!
 
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