Fixes for low turkey numbers?

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by FOWLER2671, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. Chilly

    Chilly 10 pointer

    1 bird limit - open year round trapping
  2. hollandhunter

    hollandhunter 12 pointer

    Feb 11, 2008
    Holland Kentucky
    I agree go one bird limit an open all predator hunting an trapping all year. Not just for turkeys but other critters as well.
    Southpaw, Grago and Bee like this.
  3. mudhole crossing

    mudhole crossing 12 pointer

    Aug 20, 2007
    East ky
  4. shaman

    shaman 10 pointer

    The biggest shot in the arm to our local turkey population is on the way: Cicadas. Don't underestimate what these boogers can do to turkey populations. We have two broods in play. One is showing up this May. The other is due in 2024 (?) The last time these bugs emerged, the turkeys gorged on them like manna from heaven. The next fall, it was common to see herds of 2 dozen jakes and jennies out in the field. The next few spring seasons were something to behold.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  5. Meatstick

    Meatstick 12 pointer

    Oct 25, 2013
    Washington County
    The last big turkey boom coincided with the last big cicada hatch. It'll definitely help the poults get up and going.

    PUBLIC RAT 8 pointer

    Feb 18, 2014
    Besides crows you have a variety of hawks that would take a small poult wondering around. Have heard of owls knocking birds from there roost and then turkey falls and some die for an easy meal.
    BootsOn27 likes this.
  7. BootsOn27

    BootsOn27 6 pointer

    Oct 13, 2011
    There is a farm across from ours with a sawmill that a bird has strutted at consistently for years (obviously not the same turkey but you get my drift). Right off the road... This is the first year I have yet to see one and coincidentally chicken manure was spread in that area this winter during deer season. I don't know if it truly impacts them as I am no biologist, but I just found it interesting that the most consistent spot around us has ended its streak after the shat arrived.
  8. Timholt70

    Timholt70 8 pointer

    Oct 25, 2019
    Christian county
    year around coon trapping.1 bird fall hens chicken manure ever used for anything.i feel chicken manure is a problem.
    Journette and BootsOn27 like this.
  9. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

    Mar 14, 2005
    Here are some numbers for turkey harvest and dates of season so far through 4-26-21 for three southeastern states.

    Kentucky--16 days - 20,600
    Tennessee- 26 days- 26,663
    Georgia- 40 days- 10,217

    You can see Georgia, which historically thought it had @35,000 bird harvests in may years prior to implementing Telechek in 2016, is either in a world of turkey hurt or has a lotto unchecked birds. The perception among Ga hunters from reading is that the population is really low. They expect serious season/reg changes next year.

    You can also see Ky is better per- day- birds checked ratio than Tn this year and may end with a "normal" number for season harvest in the low 30,000s.

    As long as Ky has a approximate 30,000 bird harvest I can't see Ky making drastic season/regulation changes as the harvest numbers at that level arguably would not seem to support it. The statistic that is perhaps misleading is the number of turkey hunters today versus ten years ago. You may not be killing as many birds but somebody else is . I feel there are far more turkey hunters today than in the past but do to know how to see proof of that statistically unless it is in "new" names on the telechek ledgers in recent years. Tn does not have a way to establish by a license sale how many turkey hunters are in the state (sells only combo big game to include deer.) Ky does same thing. I t would help immensely for information accuracy if the states had a Free check the box requirement to have a "turkey" permit IMO. At least if they knew how many turkey hunters were out there in a state every year the hunter success rates would make sense. As it is now the hunter success ratios are guesses IMO.

    And it is obvious to me that all hen harvests should be stopped in any season .

    And it goes without saying that obviously true kill will never be known because a huge number of birds are never checked in. Last year the Tn checked in number was @42,000 but a Tn biologist told the state commission that he believed the true harvest was perhaps @57,000 as the "assumed" non check birds were perhaps 25% to 30% of the actual checked in.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  10. 1wildcatfan

    1wildcatfan 12 pointer

    Jan 2, 2009
    raised n Bullitt Co.
    Outlaw the sniper shotguns and loads. 2 3/4" lead shot only loads. :)
    woodsman92, Bee and RLWEBB like this.
  11. RLWEBB

    RLWEBB 12 pointer

    Nov 30, 2005
    Staffordsville, KY
    Lot to think about here.
  12. cedar creek

    cedar creek 10 pointer

    Sep 7, 2014
    Had a spot as a kid in the early 90s was plum loaded with turkey, neighbor started spreading the chicken manure ruined about a 3 square mile area, perfect turkey habitat creek, bottoms, hardwood forest,
    BootsOn27 likes this.
  13. dirtstalker

    dirtstalker 12 pointer

    Nov 20, 2009
    Clay County
    Me and my crew used to do alot of fall hunting. We loved it as much as the spring hunting. When we started seeing the decline, except for 1. He will still shoot a fall bird if given the oppurtunity. Thats his choice. The rest of us pass all if them in the fall. I would let my boy shoot one in the fall given the right and legal chance, but we dont target them. We have tried to limit the harvest in spring, meaning we quit bringing other people in and helping them kill birds. Only 3 of us hunt the local family places anymore, and one of those only hunts in one specific place due to health reasons. 10-15 years ago...all the family farms were loaded with birds. Hens, jakes, toms. Now they arent, not even close. We havent seen a jake on any of these places in 3 years. We know they have to be, due to the gobblers being seen and harvested.
    There have been no chicken manure anywhere. Habitat is the same, albeit getting more mature and growing. Harvest has went down. Trapping has started last few years..we still arent gaining numbers. I dont known whats going on, but its not good. One thing i have noted over the last 7-8 years is the boom in population of avian predators. Used to see them every now and then, now they are everywhere, and i believe they play a role in decling numbers.
    cedar creek and BootsOn27 like this.
  14. WildmanWilson

    WildmanWilson 12 pointer

    Dec 26, 2004
    Western Ky.
    I remember reading that one big factor in predators getting them is the distance between their roost and feeding areas. If they traveling long ways they are more vulnerable. Also another big issue can be weather during nesting season and just after the hatch. Polts don’t stand a very good chance of survival period.
    BootsOn27 and PUBLIC RAT like this.
  15. slicked-it

    slicked-it 8 pointer

    Oct 20, 2008
    I agree witha lot of the other posts.....I'm not sure that there is a statewide approach that needs to be addressed. Bag limits and changes to seasons would probably have an impact....just not sure that it's necessary. I have several buddies that have ground and have turkeys.
    Helpful nugget of data right here.....I'm curious as to whether or not the number of available birds statewide is down, OR are more hunters having fewer encounters because of habitat loss and predation in their particular area? I know of farms where intense habitat work was carried out for deer, turkeys and small game. Additionally, those same farms are trapped pretty hard and there are year round ag practices that keep some type of food in play at all times. That said, these places are loaded with turkeys! Big flocks in the fall and 5 and 6 gobblers in a single pic in the spring. I feel like we (KY) have birds, but if your farm isn't right, you may not consistently hold turkeys. You may lose them to neighboring farms with more appealing features.

    The reasoning behind my mindset..........wild quail. You don't see 'em, you don't hear 'em and most bird hunters report that we don't have a huntable population throughout the majority of the state. That said, the farms I mentioned above all have wild quail on in particular has 5 or 6 covies. These birds were never re-introduced. Buddy of mine just established the right habitat, food and predator control and BOOM, they showed up. Not saying I'm right........just my take based on observations.
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    cedar creek and Trapper Delk like this.

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