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Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by thompson, Oct 1, 2017.
I have nothing to add but wanted to say thanks for a good read. Great info here.
Yes - I feel like one nest saved is worth the effort. Maybe your turkeys are just holding their own and it might not seem your trapping efforts are worthwhile - but what you don't know - maybe your turkey population would have declined had you not been trapping. I feel a lot of biologists - including in our own G&F - feel like trapping is not worth the effort because in many cases it does not effect rapid positive results. My take on this - I would be extremely successful if I just increased my turkey population 10% per year. If you have ten turkeys on your ground - and you can add one to that number this year because of your trapping efforts - you have been extremely successful. I believe a 10% interest rate doubles your money every 7.2 years. I would love to double my turkey population in 7.2 years. Another thing G&F will tell you is the trapping has to be done every year to be successful - maybe, and maybe not - but most management techniques have to be employed every year. And yes, I believe many of the animals trapped in the winter are likely to be replaced within the next few months (but not all) - that is why it is very important for G&F to legalize the killing/trapping of coons and coyotes in April, May, and June - which they steadfastly refuse to do. I can trap one coyote and hang it on the fence and my coyote pictures will drop significantly for several months. I don't have to go out and catch them all - I just have to pressure them and they will often move on for a few months. And we also don't know if turkeys are subject to the "predator pit" phenomenon that Alabama claims affects their deer herds - where the population falls to a point that reproduction by itself is unable to initiate a rebound due to predation and the predators either have to be reduced or the deer harvest rates have to be reduced. Once they increase to a certain threshold - the population is then able to survive the predation. Turkeys are scarce in my area - usually I have only one hen attempt nesting on my place - and she is normally unsuccessful. But, maybe if there were five hens attempting to nest, one or two of them might have a nest that escapes predation. Maybe that number is above the threshold and their population is high enough to be self supportive from that point on without me having to trap every year. I think some in in the G&F also think you have to reduce the predator population a lot to bring about a positive effect. But Tall Timbers Plantation, one of the premiere quail research grounds in the US, has developed a predator index level. The number of scentpost visits per night by predators. On their ground, if that index is 30% - where 30% of the scentpost survey sites are visited by predators in a night - they are reaching predator populations that will limit or reduce quail populations. They will then reduce predator populations below that 30% threshold and the quail populations will generally respond positively. If I have 40 coons on my place and my predator index is 40% and I want to reduce that to a 30% index - I don't have to catch all 40 coons, I only have to remove 10 of them - that is a big difference.
I have said all of that to say this - remove every predator you can - the later in the spring, the better.
I don't believe this! Gobblers were breeding in the end of February this year! Our season is so late , at least 60 to 70 percent of the hens should have already been breed!
Problem in Arkansas is the same as where seeing in every other southern state is predators! Predators is worse now than they have ever been . I checked three trail cameras at three different properties one place had as many as five different coons in a single picture , none had less than four different coins in a single pictures, eating along side them were possums , had two fox at a place , one coyote, as many as 15 to 25 hogs in single picture, every spot I'm getting hogs this is a real problem guys . The last is the 15 years to 20 prices of furs have been nothing and I've heard all the trappers and old timers say they not gonna trapper a coon for a dollar and everything else price has been low! I wish coon hides and everything else were high I could make some money for sure! 3 worst problems with the turkey and poults reproduction is 1 predators , 2 weather, 3 habit and hogs!
Yes, I respectively disagree that lack of hen breeding is the problem. I am not saying that some of them might not be bred - I just feel like it wouldnt matter, if predators are destroying the nests anyway. Past studies in AR indicated the majority of hens were making it to incubation - and that was with an early season opener. My question is, concerning the past information - will an unbred hen lay eggs and incubate - do they lay infertile eggs like a chicken does or do they only lay eggs when they have been bred?
I can agree 100% with those bring the major factor with poult loss yearly. I'm just not sure that we are getting full nesting potential especially on a second attempt nest due to predation. Can't do anything about the weather, can't pay enough money to reduce coon, coyote, bobcat, Crow and most everything else numbers down year after year after year. Can't effectively prop up the fur market long term when there is no demand for the product, and we got the hog problem due to folks transporting them state wide. And i think we will agree supplemental feeding has boosted predation issues. We have became much more eficent hunters using new ammo, fanning, motorized decoys and we travel with no second thought about it. Hell of a mess but folks want everyone else to fix it. Looking into breeding success is just a small part in helping of the overall problem. JMO
I guess by biggest concern is G&F moves the season back to mid May without addressing the predators - so even IF more hens are bred, nest success is no greater because most are still destroyed by predators - so poult production stays the same and turkey hunters are hunting in 85 degree weather in fully leafed out, humid woods with half as much gobbling activity and we hunters catch the short end of the deal and we still have less than 2 poults per hen.
G&f is quick to blame weather for low nesting success and there is nothing at all you can do about weather. G&F ignores predators - even when the studies all prove they are the main reason for low nesting success - and G&F chooses to not do anything about predation - even though there are things they could do. On this very limited thread, there are at least three of us that trap predators for the purpose of turkey management. To say no one would do it is a lie. G&F's view of predator control is dont bother because it might not help - they should be saying go ahead and try - it might help. There is probably no management technique that is cheaper that might make a difference. Why are we the only state in the mid south or southeast that offers no option to control coyotes on private property year round. How much difference might it make it g&f came out with a predator management campaign. Hardly anyone used to shoot does and g&f got us to kill so many we dont see 25% of the deer we used to in a lot of places. Their refusal to even try to do something about the predators is a dereliction of their duties. They have been tasked to try to do everything they can to protect and preserve our natural resources - well they are sure falling short when it comes to turkey management. Do you think hogs are destroying more turkey nests or coons. Do you think coyotes or hogs are killing more turkeys. If you think the answer to either question is hogs - then you need to get out in the woods a lot more. Yet g&f expends a great deal of time, energy, and money to reduce hog populations. How many turkey biologists do we have in this state - one or two? And we are going to hire six quail biologists. What does that say about where turkeys rank.
Ignore all the rest that I have typed and answer one question - why does g&f - and many within NWTF - ignore the proven predator problem?
SC the NWTF dose not ignore thw predation issue, i have seen countless articles on personal predation removable strongly recommend. They do not have the ability to set state regulations nor is that their duty. State regulations also restrict game waste, you already know that. I think it's looked at as a near impossible task on any large scale effort with only temporary gains with no fur market. You then try to focus on long term impact for your dollar. All wildlife agencies are here for the benefit of all wildlife and their natural cycles.....not to pick one species over the other to manipulate numbers but to supply habitat and maintain a sustainable population for hunters. Deer harvest numbers are high, to high in my opinion but seeing CWD now may be needed to slow spread but not been set for a slaughter effort. Coon harvest and opportunity to hunt have greatly been increased as well over the years but not to slaughter rates which is what we are talking about being needed in this case. Coyote.....another major hen killing issue but you figure numbers per 100 acres are not many statewide. Tons killed yearly in deer and turkey season. I think the only answer to your question I can give is feasibility in cost factor and long term results for the dollar. I agree 100% that a lot could be done to promote preditor hunting but it seeps over into the basis of the mission statement of most wildlife agencies in choosing one over the other in protection efforts. Fur bearing biologist are probably happy looking at the turkey biologist asking what's wrong with your turkeys,,,, it's not set up as a single or overall wildlife supported and balancing effort as I wish it was. There are internal disagreements on these issues no doubt. Not a prefect world no doubt......just do the best we can through the NWTF with what we got available currently. Hard to do this on a phone and my thoughts are condensed a bit here. Could discuss this in book form I spect. I fight daily on making changes but have learned over the last 11 years it's a very complicated and political process. There are times when the right opportunity may be years down the road to present itself on certain matters concerning change depending on who's driving the boat. That boat changes captains yearly and direction.
I appreciate the thoughtful response. It is frustrating that nesting studies in our own state have identified the problem and our G&F ignores it. And I agree, I do believe there are disagreements within our G&F over what to do about predators. I have had this discussion with our g&f and their official response is we already have nine months of coon or coyote season, so a couple of additional months wont make a difference. They should have the attitude maybe a couple additional months - AT THE RIGHT TIME - MIGHT make a difference. Their philosophy also is that removing predators is only a short term fix so it probably wont make a difference. They should have the attitude that removing predators MIGHT make a difference. It comes down to them being lazy - they are taking the easy way out by doing nothing. They are also dead wrong on their thought that predator control is expensive for many of us. I plant food plots, manage for NWSG, hinge cut trees, plant trees, apply herbicide to control noxious plants, maintain fire breaks - and a long list of other activities that are time consuming, take a lot of effort, are expensive, and take expensive equipment. Trapping equipment takes little money - a few hundred dollars gets you in business for the next ten years. Thirty minutes a day for a couple of weeks - AT THE RIGHT TIME OF THE YEAR - can result in the removal of a lot of nest predators - that just might result in one more nest getting by. And then they tell you that trapping will probably have to be done every year to have any effect. No joke - really? Very few management activities are a once and done. The magic NWSG is a maintenance nightmare trying to get it established and control invasives and burning or bush hogging. No, predator control is probably not the answer statewide to bolster turkey populations - but it might well be on smaller parcels of private ground. Can you imagine what it would cost to improve turkey habitat statewide - and maintain it - that is also not the answer. I am actually embarrassed for the g&f when they have employees who make statements like these that so blatantly display their lack of knowledge. I agree - it is going to take an attack from all directions - no one thing is going to fix this problem. The later season structure has done absolutely nothing for our turkeys. In fact, if you just consider numbers and dates - poult counts have averaged much higher during years of earlier season openings. I do understand politics in governmental agencies and also understand what a problem that can be. I understand varied personalities. And I understand it is a convoluted process to enact change. But we are on a turkey train to no where. If g&f changes the turkey season opening date to May or even June because of this new information - at least it will signify an effort to try something different - which I do agree is a step in the right direction.
Decent hatch, but it was late, lots of poults around now, they don't know when or where to look.
I also saw a few poults in September - saw none up until then.
Saw a hen with 8 -3/4 grown last week.
I have hens with poults on nearly every deer camera, they're about 3/4 plus grown now like Thompson said, I had 12 with one hen 2 weeks ago in a clover plot, again they don't know when or where to look, I assume they drive up and down roads looking, you'll see exactly zero doing that 9 out of 10 times.
They have folks scattered all over the state - so even though you might be in a turkey rich environment seeing all kinds of poults, you also have to add in the folks that live in areas like I do where there are none. You get a few of those survey forms with zeros across the board and it brings the averages down pretty quick.
I have seen no poults in Bradley and Cleveland counties! Seen a ton of hens , just no little ones
I seen a few early in Cleveland Co but few and far between this year.
I saw a few in Polk co in september - both in person and on camera at my bear baits. They were about 3/4's grown. Have not seen a turkey of any kind since May on my home ground in Sevier county. Had a hen or two around during nesting season but dont think one ever made it to incubating stage.
Missouri as well.