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Conservative turkey season again proposed by AGFC

LITTLE ROCK – Biologists from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission again have proposed a conservative turkey season. The AGFC has tried to address declining turkey harvests through the regulations process starting in spring 2005.

AGFC turkey biologist Mike Widner told the Commission, that the shorter season of 30 days in 2005 and 2006 undoubtedly aided gobbler carryover somewhat. “However, the reduction in season length was not enough to reverse the trend in declining spring harvests and the index of gobbler carryover from the 2005 and 2006 brood surveys,” he said.

Widner said that the best way to achieve long term harvest management goals is to utilize a short, later turkey season such as the one in place during the 2007 and 2008 season. “The data we have collected strongly supports this conclusion. After the first year of this regulation, we saw positive results and we believe those positive results continued in 2008,” Widner explained. “When we first approached the Commission with a conservative season recommendation, we stressed that a one-year change wouldn’t result in turkey harvest recovery. Our intention was to bring harvests in line with reproductive trends,” he added.

Widner went on to say that it is going to take at least two good years of turkey brood production to see a significant increase in turkey numbers and turkey harvest. “Even when that finally occurs, there is plenty of data to suggest a conservative season is in the best long-term interest of turkeys and turkey hunters in the state. Of course, we haven’t seen those two good years of turkey reproduction yet, so continuation of the conservative season structure now in place is especially important,” he said.

The AGFC Wildlife Management Division turkey team recommended a spring 2009 season structure to open with a two-day statewide youth hunt April 4-5. In zone 17 the youth hunt would be March 28-29. The regular-season proposal was April 11-May 1 in zones 1 Zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9 and 10; April 4-26 in zone 17; April 11-24 in zones 4, 4A, 5A and 9A. Zone 1A would be closed.

According to Widner, turkey numbers currently are extremely low in Zone 1A. Hobbs SP-CA and Beaver Lake WMA are proposed for closure for the same reason.

Other proposed changes include closure of Bald Knob NWR to turkey hunting, a change to regular season quota permit hunts on McIlroy Madison County WMA and Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA, a change to a 4-day regular season quota permit hunt on Sylamore WMA later followed by public hunting for the rest of the season, the addition of a regular quota permit hunt on Choctaw Island WMA and public archery-only hunts on Harold E. Alexander WMA and Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA after quota permit hunts are completed.

Comments on the proposed basic season structure or on the specific changes listed above are welcomed by AGFC and should be sent prior to Oct. 17 to AGFC, 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205 or by calling (501) 223-6359 or (800) 364-4263 or by email to [email protected]

Commissioners will formally approve the season at the agency's Oct. 22 meeting in Pine Bluff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can somone please show me some kind of biological/hard evidence of why zone 17 opens up before the rest of the state. :head: I know this gets brought up every year, but I haven't heard/seen any reason why this zone should open up earlier than the rest of the state.
 

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Can somone please show me some kind of biological/hard evidence of why zone 17 opens up before the rest of the state. :head: I know this gets brought up every year, but I haven't heard/seen any reason why this zone should open up earlier than the rest of the state.
So the commissioners can hunt opening day in zone 17, then also hunt the rest of the state on opening day a week later :mad:
 

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Turkey Population

:mad:I have to agree with you rntquackaholic, espescially on public hunting grounds. I've made my opinion known as well. The A.G.F.C could solve this problem very easily by allowing hunters state wide to hunt predators such as: coyote,hogs.From the end of turkey season to mid september at least the next five years. We would see a definate increase in turkey and deer population. If they were to open it up as a kill by any means day or night. The coyote and for sure the hog population in this state are reaching dangerous levels. Something must be done this year. Anything but penalizing hunters for A.G.F.C oversight and neglect. With monkeying around with season dates all that will be accomplished will be a lack of revenue due to fewer hunters in the future. We need solid solutions!! Not more regulation!!
 

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ditto

There should definitelty be an all year predator season. it is low impact, but suburban growth has caused coyote and even bobcat pop's to EXPLODE. I find 3-4 fresh coyote dropping piles every time I go out. I hear them light up every evening right after sunset. It was never like this before. I will be out there with a mini-14 .223 and a large clip because the last couple of times I've been out and blown a predator call, It has been multiple coyotes coming in. Just like the feral housecat and predators have decimated quail populations, turkeys are next. We're just seeing the beginnings.
 

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I agree with the predator removal wack-n-stack approach to help the turkey numbers. Don't give me that, "predators don't impact turkey population crap" for you know-it-alls. As a child I rabbit hunted with my father & friends "when everybody was doing it" with alot less predators around & the game was plentiful. This area l live in has changed some over the years due to housing expansion,etc but not enough to impact quail/rabbits numbers like coyotes have. Bottom line is that we use to go anywhere that had a fence row & kill rabbits/quail when there was alot less predators around. Yes predator control is not cost effective but if you enjoy going out & hunting them why not leave their season open year around. Let us hunters absorb/help some of the cost for AGFC to get the population back up. I'd also like to see habitat improvement to promote numbers growth. Hell I'd like to see a "Predator Bounty" of some kind that would promote more motivation huntin & killin em! I understand hogs have impacted the turkeys too, kill em all.
 

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Good idea on the bounty!! Now if we could just get 'em to go for it???:up:
Who is going to put up the money for the bounty? Unless one can find a private benefactor, I'm entirely opposed to the idea of a bounty. This is because if the AG&FC pays the bounty, it ultimately comes out of our collective pocket. Plus, neither the AG&FC nor me are convinced predators are the primary problem.
 

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From observation of the local flock, I can attest to the benefits of the last couple of years of "conservative" seasons. While my data is anecdotal at best, I am definitely seeing an increase in the size of the flock. When I first bought my little 20 acres, the size of the flock around my house during the winter was around 50 birds. I saw that dwindle to around 12 birds 3 years ago. Now, the reasons for the decrease are many. I suppose urban sprawl, predation, poor hatching weather and over harvest are all factors. One year there was a single (i.e., one) gobbler to "service" the entire flock. There is no doubt in my mind that part of the reason for the decrease in flock size was due to there not being enough toms to do the breeding. We very nearly exterminated this flock. Just in the nick of time the AG&FC came to the rescue with the later starting date. Now the flock is up to around 20 birds.

In my opinion, we're spoiled here in Arkansas when it comes to turkey hunting. We tend to want to have our cake and eat it too. We complain about the turkey numbers being low. But then we complain when, out of necessity, the season dates are moved in order to help the turkey numbers. :banghead: We just can't continue to have a long, early-opening season, a two-bird limit and continue to shoot jakes and expect to have good turkey numbers year in and year out. We have to compromise somewhere.
 

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Who is going to put up the money for the bounty? Unless one can find a private benefactor, I'm entirely opposed to the idea of a bounty. This is because if the AG&FC pays the bounty, it ultimately comes out of our collective pocket. Plus, neither the AG&FC nor me are convinced predators are the primary problem.
The Bounty doesn't have to necessarily be always a money thing. Possible points system per kill towards outdoor gear or what ever. "Possibly Sponsored by Some Company or Persons" I know, "Who's going to keep up the points or records of kills." Well all I'm trying to say is there are creative ways of making bounty\reward system work that's cost effective & may help a effort. In our case Turkey Numbers, let us not be Blind:glasses:
 

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The Bounty doesn't have to necessarily be always a money thing. Possible points system per kill towards outdoor gear or what ever. "Possibly Sponsored by Some Company or Persons" I know, "Who's going to keep up the points or records of kills." Well all I'm trying to say is there are creative ways of making bounty\reward system work that's cost effective & may help a effort. In our case Turkey Numbers, let us not be Blind:glasses:
Sounds like an administrative nightmare to me. If there is a bounty to be paid, utimately $dollars$ will have to change hands somewhere. Face it, no company in its right mind is going to put up the dollars for a bounty unless there is a profit to be made from it. I don't see how a company can profit from paying a bounty on anything. That leaves only the "government" or some not-for-profit organization. For the government to pay the bounty they must tax people like you and me. They have no other source of money. The "government" (i.e., the AG&FC) doesn't believe that predation is the cause for the current low turkey numbers (and neither do I). So, they ain't going to pay the bounty and I wouldn't stand for it if they got the silly notion. That just leaves some private organization. Perhaps you can talk the NWTF into it, but don't hold your breath. Maybe you can start your own Society For the Extermination of Turkey Predators and charge dues to join. Then you can use the dues to pay the bounty. :rolleyes:
 

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Wheather you support a bounty program or not isn't realy the issue, the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals that are destroying the birds and thier habitat. I agree, predation isn't soley responsible for the decline in numbers. However, since the hog population has exploded in this state the turkey numbers have declined. I've seen it on public land up north and definetly on deer leases down south. While the A.G.F.C is addressing the issues of man-made pressures on the birds. They are not doing all they can. It is as simple as allowing hunters like myself and the guys I hunt with an oppertunity to assist the commision in controling the numbers of predators/ferrel animals #1 in order to hunt these animals we must take up valuable time during a regular hunting season to do so. #2 we are restricted by the means in which to do so(i.e. gun,muzzeload) #3 in the matter of a bounty. That could be solved by simply allowing hunters to purchase a year round permit for the priveledge I know many hunters would be willing to do just that. And yes, they could look into getting the N.W.T.F and other organisations involved. Whether they implement all or part of these suggestions would at least be a start. I still believe the best conservationists are sportsmen. We just need a little oversight and direction to keep a few bad apples from spoiling the whole bunch. Again I would like to say I agree with most if not all of the comments posted here. :up:
 

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Without a doubt, I'd like to see the restrictions on predator hunting relaxed a bit, especially for coyotes. I guess the AG&FC has to walk a fine line between predator control by responsible hunters while still keeping the poachers reigned in. In addition, I suppose there are those "nature lovers" that don't want to see predators hunted at all. Theirs is a tough job and I don't envy them with all the different groups they have to please.

I have to admit that my dander gets up anytime someone talks about a "bounty." I guess that's the conservative in me. When I hear "bounty," I hear "government handout" as private enterprise can't profit from it. Government handouts come out of my pocket whether I like it or not - and I don't (like it). I don't want to give the government any more of my money than I absolutely have to as the government is a black hole when it comes to responsible use of money. :mad:
 

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Wheather you support a bounty program or not isn't realy the issue, the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals that are destroying the birds and thier habitat. I agree, predation isn't soley responsible for the decline in numbers. However, since the hog population has exploded in this state the turkey numbers have declined. I've seen it on public land up north and definetly on deer leases down south. While the A.G.F.C is addressing the issues of man-made pressures on the birds. They are not doing all they can. It is as simple as allowing hunters like myself and the guys I hunt with an oppertunity to assist the commision in controling the numbers of predators/ferrel animals #1 in order to hunt these animals we must take up valuable time during a regular hunting season to do so. #2 we are restricted by the means in which to do so(i.e. gun,muzzeload) #3 in the matter of a bounty. That could be solved by simply allowing hunters to purchase a year round permit for the priveledge I know many hunters would be willing to do just that. And yes, they could look into getting the N.W.T.F and other organisations involved. Whether they implement all or part of these suggestions would at least be a start. I still believe the best conservationists are sportsmen. We just need a little oversight and direction to keep a few bad apples from spoiling the whole bunch. Again I would like to say I agree with most if not all of the comments posted here. :up:
I agree, That's what I'm trying to say something simple & creative that will help. Not a super regulated system just a program of sort to get the ball rolling in the right direction. As a politician would say," We to need change Washington" not business as usual.

Do Something vs Do Nothing
 
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