Turkey reproduction

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retired guy
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2011/04/19 16:52:03 (permalink)

Turkey reproduction

   I have yet to pickup and read any biological info on gross turkey numbers here in Ct . The state  ,however, added a third gobbler to the tags a couple of years ago. One would imagine that this represents an increase in Turkey numbers statewide.   Not any place that I hunt though.
   Only hunt one spot in central Ct and another on the East side of the state,  Also travel around a lot and must say that from my observations numbers are DOWN and have been so for around 3 to 4 years. At least where I go.
   We are now having another unfortunate very wet cold Spring and as May nears the hens should start laying eggs. They will NOT make it in this weather.   
    This type of condition has been more common than not for a few years and believe it is the main reason  for less birds.
Yes some hens will lay another batch of eggs but if the young dont put on enough weight before late fall and Winter -gonzo.
    The Turkey days of a decade ago are gone around here. We clearly still have a huntable population -but not like before. Havent seen big flocks in a very long time.
post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/19 16:55:40
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    fishmeup
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/19 19:33:13 (permalink)
    Your trppin man...I see them every where.....

    Rob Fierst
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/19 20:21:11 (permalink)
    Wish we traveled the same roads. I did say CT. Give the Ct Game folks a lot of credit they dont seem to mess it up like these guys say about PA- Never hear that kind of stuff hereabouts
    Thats kinda why I tried to be a bit specific about just where I happen to hunt and travel being a bit light on birds lately - That being said hear a lot of guys saying numbers are down cause of recent wet Springs.
    Hope for some dry ones for a gross flock comeback.
    Also believe that backyard feeders draw birds from a very large area and can definatley affect hunting opportunities. Hunted a place where the birds went straight from a woods roost into a neighborhood about a half mile away and fed around the houses feeders all morning..
    Ya could sit up on the ledges and watch groups of Turkeys walking into that bunch of houses from several directions. If ya didnt score right away off the fly down in the AM may as well pack  up for the day-lousy.
        Was better in the Fall as the birds eventually worked back up the hills in the afternoons.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/19 20:49:34
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 08:10:08 (permalink)
    Actually, Pennsylvania as a whole is experiencing the same situation as you. While there are no doubt some areas of the state with lots of birds just as there are areas of the state with lots of deer, the state as a whole has experienced a net loss of over 30 percent of the turkey population in the last decade.

    Two of the main reasons are believed to be a couple very wet springs and increased predation. That is the reason I was against the introduction of the Fisher into the state as it is one of the most efficient predators of ground nesting birds. The hunters could have controlled the porkeys but they were illegal for us to kill.

    There is a study going on right now to determine the effects of hunting and other causes on turkey mortality as it is becoming a real cause for concern in areas of the state. In my own area I have fed them in the winter for over 40 years and in a typical winter had 40 to 70 on feed. The last two winters I have had approx 22 on feed in the same area. Still a huntable population but sure not what I was used to.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 09:06:52 (permalink)
        The number of Turkey hunters here in Ct is not so huge as to have a gross negative affect on the Statewide flock IMHO even with our 3 bird limit. Its rare lately to bump into other hunters in the woods -at least where I go. It used to be very different. Dont know if slipping numbers are the cause or if Turkey is simply too hard for some guys who like to score quickly as the numbers seem down. For some folks its a lot of commitment when you may not get a bird.
    The Fishers have been here for a very long time now- initially brought in as I recall to help with a growing Porky population- unfortunately, yes-they can kill Porkys --but  why bother when rabbits and other game is available. Although I firmly believe the predators will take the first thing they come across when hungry including Porkys. Rabbits here like in PA I guess are down too and predators seem up.
      That cant last too long though cause one depends on the other. Yotes were very commonplace around the same time the Turkey number seemed higher in my area and now both are still here but certainly down in numbers. Deer are about the same or higher.
      I have come to believe that 'ground nesters' are far more affected by cool wet birthing seasons than hunting. This would cause noticeable drops of rabbits as well a most game birds- especially with a few back to back poor Springs. A comparison would be our Squrrel and Deer  population which seems nuts lately even though  they rely on many of the same foods as the Turkey.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/20 13:38:57
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    S-10
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 09:44:12 (permalink)
    Our fall turkey hunter numbers have dropped 35% or so since their peak but the spring hunters numbers have actually increased just a bit depending on the years you compare.

    The two biggest problems I encountered when hunting in the spring was finding a bird without someone else also on it and bumping deer into them when moving in. I no longer have the deer bumping problem but still have to contend with other hunters.

    30-40 years ago killing a coyote got your picture in the newspaper. Now it takes a truck load of them to get any notice.

    No doubt a real wet spring is the single greatest cause of ground nesting mortality.
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    dpms
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 12:01:59 (permalink)
    Here is SW PA, turkey numbers are on the decrease.  No comparing 7 years ago to today.  Still a very huntable population with many birds killed.
     
    Wet springs no doubt are a major player but it does seem that since we have noticed a increase in the coyote and bobcat population on several farms, turkey numbers have decreased. 

    My rifle is a black rifle
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 12:55:09 (permalink)
    Predators are either #1 or #2 depending on how wet the spring is in my opinion. Either one can really put the hurt on them.
    As late as 2002 the PGC only thought we had about 20,000 coyotes in the state. The last three years there are an average of approx 25,000 killed each year that are documented and who knows how many thousands more that just get killed and tossed. They are eating something and it's not all deer.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/20 13:44:59 (permalink)
    Agree with both DPM and s10.
     We have little Yote hunting hereabouts. In a very populated state its hard to run a dog on them or go from place to place calling for a morning or evening.
         When I did it I was led to believe that when you called for a while with no result it was on to another spot a good distance away to try and lure in a Yote. Around here ya might have to go 20 miles to another permitted location. Been there done that -more driving around than hunting.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/21 21:08:59 (permalink)
    Hey 10-
    One thing I have learned over the years is to go as deep into the woods to hunt as you can-regardless of how much game is there compared to the edge.
    Reason being that most all hunters only go a couple of hundred yards in and think they are 'deep'.
        Even with a possibility of less game its great to enhance the chances of being alone on whatever is there.
        Even with Spring turkey commonly coming to fields there are always a few Toms working ridges further in the woods. Some strut those ridges so well that you can set your watch by them as the season goes on. They definately come to the same places each day at about the same times. Generally after the first hookup a bit later in the AM.  Those are the birds that can usually be hunted all by yourself.
      I NEVER go in and take a chance of pushing out a strutting Tom in mid morning on a ridge. I ALWAYS try and get there ahead of him and set up a day or two later.  Once he shows up and announces himself sometimes only one light cluck and a rustle of leaves with a stick brings him directly in with no messing around.
      That loud leaf rustle with a stick has become my favorite way of bringing in a Gobbling Tom- works great with the birds that 'hang up' too. I keep the stick alongside me and reach around behind with it to the leaves and leter rip. Most guys have never tried that one but an old timer advised to do it  -it works great.Try to make it sound like turkeys scratching real hard.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/21 21:37:25
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/22 11:17:47 (permalink)
    I've got one place like you describe but it's such a pain to get to that I only go there the last week if I'am getting desperate. I have killed a couple dandy's in there but your whole day is involved with that one bird because there isn't time to hit any other area. It's a point of a long ridge that drops off steep on both sides and always harbors a bird in the spring. I also use the scratching technique. Out with the grandson tomorrow and I start next week. I call it my spring weight loss program.
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/22 12:06:58 (permalink)
    I agree with all of the above and also think that nest robbers also have an influence on the population.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/27 05:14:36 (permalink)
    Apr 27= Its our first morning - sitting here looking out at rain at 445 Am and the darned Yotes were out back yesterday. With things looking down its probably gonna be a good day-
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/27 08:11:22 (permalink)
    Finished last post and went right out back on this foggy drizzley  AM. NO gobbling whatsoever. Waited an hour and decided to move up the ridge and immediately spooked a Gobbler off a roost about 50 yds from where I had been sitting and occasionally clucking.
    Hate silent days cant stand waiting around in a 'likely spot' without 'working' the bird.
    Came back to the house and will go again tomorrow AM  (supposed to rain)
      It WAS a good day -got out and saw a Tom.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/27 08:12:03
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    Big Tuna
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 06:34:40 (permalink)
    On my way to work yesterday saw 3 longs and 3 jakes fighting and got 4 other birds to gobble(at different spots),doesn't look to bad here in Beaver Co.Last year looked bad and I only hunted twice calling in jakes and passing on them.
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    Eman89so
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 11:51:48 (permalink)
    We're seeing a nice number of birds here in SW Pa this year as well.. More hens then normal but we already bagged a tom last week for the youth hunt. My sisters first turkey hunt and she got one with a crossbow.
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 14:21:38 (permalink)
    I don't know if it's me, the weather, or lack of birds where I hunt but at this time last year I had 27 long beards and 17 jakes located. Right now I have 9 long beards and 6 jakes and the season has just started and I'am already tired.
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 14:55:25 (permalink)
    Hey Eman- great work by the young lady.....
    10- what you are 'down to' is where it was in the heyday hereabouts.
    Ct. has about 35,000 birds according to the Dep with a couple of thousand hunters who took less than a couple of thousand birds last year.
    My experience is that there are far more birds on unailable Pvt NO HUNTING lands that are available to hunt. Thats OK cause they produce young that travel but it can be a difficult season sometimes.
    This year promise to be tough where I go due to few birdies. They guy feeding them bout a 1/4 mile away in his neighborhood of houses has a flock every day though. Gee -wonder where 'my 'birds are?
    Stuff like that is why we only have a couple of thousand Turkey guys. It can really frustrate some guys driving out of their area  seeing all those birds hanging around the houses.
      My uncle has a nice farm about an hour away I used to hunt but the birds are off the roost and gone in 15 minutes each Am into a nearby neighborhood. Sometimes they might come back round 10/30 or 11 AM but hanging around all morning just in case is such a pain I dont even bother anymore.`
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/28 15:02:33
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 15:31:17 (permalink)
    It's nothing most folks around here can't duplicate with a few dozen 5:00 AM wakeups and a few hundred dollars for gas. I live a few miles from the ANF and have an 8,000 and a 15,000 acre gamelands within a 20 minute drive of me plus all the private land that I can hunt in addition to my own property. I can always find enough birds to hunt without sitting on some kids swing set although it may take a hike to do it. I listen in the morning and move and glass the rest of the day pre-season.

    My relation who lives close to Pittsburgh has 20 long beards behind his house but it is about like you describe your area. He also sees nice bucks all the time usually feeding on someones shrubbery.

    We have about 230,000 spring hunters that take about 40,000+ birds and about 150,000 fall hunters who take 20-25,000 birds at the present.

    I'am not much for waiting them out either, more of a run and gun type. It works well for me and gets me some exersize at the same time.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/04/28 17:14:16 (permalink)
    Thanks for the response- interesting that the hunter sucess rate in Ct is far greater than PA - would have thought just the opposite.
    LOVE the swingset thing.
        Have waited them out- guess we have done the setup and wait thing- but have been down to not even taking a decoy anymore- gotta workem with the slate to enjoy it now. With the exception of sometimes calling in a buck with the Grunt there is NOTHING like working a hot Tom.
       Not that I would pass up a bird simply walking by but the opportunity to Call one in rather than simply a setup is the best thing in sports IMHO. Have likely lost birds cause of moving  to a HOT bird when just sitting  in a spot where birds were around could have been productive.-- Different strokes--
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/04/28 17:24:10
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/06 00:23:48 (permalink)
         Went up to my place at  the SR in NY yesterday in a drizzel and low 40s. Never saw one Turkey all the way up-300 miles. Today was a nice sunny day in the 50s but the Syracuse paper said they had some rain each day for the preceding 19 days. Its been unusually cool up there too.
        No gobbling, scratching or sign of any kind at my place--ZERO. Thats a first. Last Spring was warm but there were a couple of big rains in egg laying season and there were VERY few young birds seen all summer. One hen was at my feeder each day with two very small poults- must have been a second hatch cause they were still small in the fall. That was it.
       3 years ago there were 23 each PM at my place and I wasnt feeding. Then we had a record winter and the flock dropped to a bird here and there. It still hasnt recovered with last years rains and this year looks to be worse with the cold weather and rains.
      Darn-- their population goes up and down like a roller coaster. Guess the predators are following cause the Yotes dont night howl like they were either. Cept the one this summer right outside my bedroom window.-thatll sit ya up straight right out a sleep.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/05/06 00:25:40
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/20 22:12:50 (permalink)
       Well I hate to say this but I havent  hunted Turkey here at home since the first day.. Saw that one gobbler roosted close by me the first day and have seen him walking all alone in the close field across the street from time to time. My Wife walks the Labs out there in the other fields each day and has seen birds only twice this year. A Tom and 2 hens one day and a Hen on another.
    Took a Sunday walk two weeks ago and could hardly find any scratching at all - walked bout 2 hundred acres of Oak ridge above those fields. Went way off my permit property on that walk and I'm the only hunter in the whole area. Around 900 acres  with just myself hunting a small portion of it.
      In the past she saw at least one group of birds every day--- not now.
    For many many years  could get up in the AM and listen to various birds  across the street on the ridges. NONE at all this year-- not one Gobble.
    This Spring is a record breaker for being wet and even though I'm getting older and there are far more seasons behind me than ahead of me I'm NOT gonna shoot what breed stock is left there. I know this is only a local thing but gotta letem breed a bit and come back. Also gotta get someplace new to hunt in the Fall.
        We Hunters were the first conservationists and should stay that way. Cant complain either have had a number of years now with full tags --too bad the weather has donem in here and there but they say that on the whole the birds are doing just fine.
      BTW- its now the 23rd and I have seen that poor one  longbeard walk across the field to his roost the past 3 days in a row- Step outside each rainy morning and he hasent gobbled once. Either he's got tonsilitis or just wont in the rain-since it rained every morning for 3 weeks now maybe thats why I dont hear him.--stilll wont hunt the lonely thing- got a great beard, can clearly see it from 200 yds.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/05/23 21:46:24
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/24 04:53:04 (permalink)
    Finally got my second bird but had to convince the hen he was with to pay me a visit in order to pull him in. One 2 and one 3 years old, both with over 10" beards.This year was the hardest I've had to work for a pair since they started issuing the second tag. I only got to work four birds all season and have been out every day until noon and a few evenings. I've had the same problem with them not talking as you.

    I haven't seen much hunter activity in the new evening hunts.I've been rained on at least once every day but three and it's raining now so my buddy and I will be getting wet again. My relation in the South part of the state has been having just the opposite results so I guess it depends where you are located.

    Got to see a real small fawn nursing as well as a pair of small bucks. I'am also seeing small groups of hens which doesn't bode well for the spring hatch. This much wet weather probably has their nests smelling like a wet dog for the predators as well as being hard on any poults. At least it hasn't been real cold for a couple weeks.
    Time well tell.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/24 08:31:23 (permalink)
    Good job 10-
    Hope the local numbers dont drop for you like they have here-it gets nutty when you can see a bird here and there but dont feel comphy hunting them. NOT hunting is against my nature..
      Its like you say though, one place is sparce and another seem OK- hope that lasts cause this weather looks like it may very well put a real hurt on their numbers for the upcoming year- Hope to be  very wrong on that but we all know that weather and predators are the main controlling factors in population of these great birds.
      This  is gona be my first birdless year in a very long time so thats OK as long as they bounce back.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/05/24 08:34:42
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/24 10:14:25 (permalink)
    Had the most fun this morning I've had all season. Worked a lone gobbler off the roost gobbling his arse off. My buddy was set up 35 yards in front of me and the bird came past him at 30 yards but he couldn't see it for the ground cover and the damm thing walked right between us. I had him at 15 yards and it was within 20 yards of the shooter but there was a small rise and ground cover that he coldn't see over. It walked outthe edge of a field a bit far from him to shoot and I think I spooked him when I tried to reposition to get the shooter between me and the bird. It will give us something to chase the next couple times we go out.
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/05/24 13:52:37 (permalink)
    They can be vewy vewy twicky

    \
      Just got back from my place in upstate NY by the Salmon River. Wed was nice but no gobbles and then Downpour, lightning thunder and quarter inch hail. Been like that all spring.  Paper said wettest April on record for many years and an unusually wet May too.
       Gonna draw a pentagram in the dirt next Spring and dance around it - hope to conjure up a dry season.
    post edited by retired guy - 2011/05/27 21:30:20
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    retired guy
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/06/03 11:32:11 (permalink)
       Well its over for the season now and I congratulate all those who scored and  who tried and participated in this GREAT sport.
       The sun is shining and the rains here have stopped . Hope all those of you taking kids out had a great time and the kids at least got to come close and experience Turkey  hunting.
       Would really like to hear bout any young birds being seen after this wet Spring. Really wonder how they made out reproducing this year.
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/06/03 21:10:34 (permalink)
    The hay is ready to be cut so if it stays dry for awhile we should start to see them if there are any to see.
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/06/03 21:59:09 (permalink)
    Hi 10-
    Was looking out the window today and saw a hen bout 5PM walking in the cut field across the street where I saw that lonely Tom all season.
    First time a hen has walked out there this Spring-she had ONE young bird with her. Actually was kinda happy cause if she could start one perhaps there are others somewhere who did better this wet year.
       I really really thought they wouldnt produce at all this spring with the lousy weather and varmints and low population in my neighborhood. Made me feel good bout not hunting that Tom. A sucesfull season doesn't always mean a harvest.
    #29
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    RE: Turkey reproduction 2011/06/06 00:10:55 (permalink)
    The GF heard Tom gobbling yesterday morning at light. Still hoping I guess.
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