Midwest turkey decline

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jims
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Midwest turkey decline

Post by jims » May 18th, 2018, 7:04 am

I hunted gobblers in Nebraska and S Dakota this year. It appeared that bird numbers were a chunk lower than they've been in recent years. In fact, I would say they are around 1/3 what they were a couple years ago. I heard the same is true in Kansas. Has anyone else noticed the dramatic decline in turkeys over the past few years in Midwest states?

I've noticed quite a few more coyotes in the hills. Around 4 or 5 years ago I never saw a coyote....and the ones I saw often had mange. I'm wondering if part of the reason for the drop in turkey numbers is predators? There has tended to be a rise in turkey hunters....but I doubt if they would have as big of an impact as 4 legged predators plus possibly poor nesting conditions? Anyway, I thought I would see if others have noticed the same thing?

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poorcountrypreacher
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by poorcountrypreacher » May 18th, 2018, 7:44 am

I noticed just the opposite in NW KS. I've hunted the same area since 2007, and they have more birds now than I've ever seen there. I got into a flock of about 8 gobblers and 25 hens the second day. The place I hunted in OK seemed to be having an average year.

I think the population in the Midwest is very dependent on rain.

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Spuriosity
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Spuriosity » May 18th, 2018, 9:22 am

Not quite the midwest, but the turkey population appears to be way down in the areas I hunt in W. Ky.

Jstocks
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Jstocks » May 18th, 2018, 9:42 am

Maybe the weather and sightings are just down, but from my personal experience the hunting was not as good in Kansas the last 2 seasons as it had been previously. I hunted both central and northeast corner.

On the contrary to my experience, the outfitter in central indicated prior to the season that he had more birds than ever, but during the season the birds were scattered and his success was limited.

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Grumpy
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Grumpy » May 18th, 2018, 10:21 am

I'm sure this last long brutal and deep snow winter didn't help with the population
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SwampDrummin
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by SwampDrummin » May 18th, 2018, 11:54 am

There are very localized increases in the Midwest region but as a whole numbers are down in most places. Some regions are way down. Historical hot spots are starting to dry up IMO. Dunno what it is. Just know that the killers I know covered a lot of country that used to be jam up with turkeys and now it’s not. Hope it’s not the start of the dark ages.

willie
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by willie » May 18th, 2018, 2:02 pm

same here in virginia.Not sure what the true answer on decline of having chances to set up on gobblers but it is becoming a different kind of hunting for sure.IMO predators and also gobblers (mature ones) are just as happy being with another gobbler than hens and they are evolving about gobbling each day.i have places that they only will come to gobbling.i have 5 gobblers on my place that never get hunted and i can watch them strutting and NO gobbling at least 4-5 days at different times all the time in spring.once in awhile one will gobble some but if you were just trying to locate you could be 200 yards from them and you would never know they were there.the gobblers that gobble a lot are deceased.TIME FOR DIFFERENT TACTICS.

jims
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by jims » May 18th, 2018, 4:03 pm

Here in the Front Range in Colo we have coyotes, mtn lions, bobcats, and black bears that make a quick meal of noisy turkeys. In fact, I called in a black bear a couple years ago with a turkey call and actually had to wave my arms to keep him from jumping on me! I watched a coyote this year while turkey hunting in Nebraska hunch down and stalk the tom decoy I had in front of me...until he got a whiff of me at 50 yards from the decoy and sprinted away. What Willie mentions above seems true for the majority of turkeys I hunt....they are evolving into a different critter. They find out if they make noise once they fly out of the roost they either get shot or eaten! Unfortunately it takes some of the thrill out of the hunt when toms and hens are quiet once they fly off the roost! It also tends to take a lot more hours in the field to be successful harvesting quiet turkeys! It also takes more time if there are fewer toms available....due to being eaten by both 2 and 4 legged predators!

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OLE RASPY
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by OLE RASPY » May 18th, 2018, 7:16 pm

There’s ALOT more hunters out there to thanyears before.
TURKEYS
COYOTES
DEER
SQUIRRELS
(all in this order)

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Spuriosity
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Spuriosity » May 19th, 2018, 7:44 am

Has to be the TSS. Don't believe me? Just ask Shannon. :angel4:

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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by timbrhuntr » May 19th, 2018, 8:22 am

You guys are clueless the big decline is because of all the reapers out there that couldn't kill a turkey and are now just slaughtering the whole population everywhere ! :D :o :roll:

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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Tail Feathers » May 19th, 2018, 7:45 pm

Spuriosity wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 7:44 am
Has to be the TSS. Don't believe me? Just ask Shannon. :angel4:
That and the flocks of ultra realistic decoys out there. :mrgreen:

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Turkinator
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Turkinator » May 20th, 2018, 10:58 am

Where I hunt coons are thick. I don't know how birds ever bring off a hatch. Wish fur prices would explode.

Dtrkyman
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Dtrkyman » May 24th, 2018, 7:12 pm

Bird numbers are down drastically in Nebraska where I hunt anyway, Illinois and Missouri are also down. Seems to be a huge population of nest robbers and no shortage of birds of prey either!


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OLE RASPY
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by OLE RASPY » May 24th, 2018, 8:01 pm

I think it’s people getting on here and telling where they hunt. 👍🏻😜
TURKEYS
COYOTES
DEER
SQUIRRELS
(all in this order)

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OLE RASPY
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by OLE RASPY » May 24th, 2018, 8:03 pm

Turkinator wrote:
May 20th, 2018, 10:58 am
Where I hunt coons are thick. I don't know how birds ever bring off a hatch. Wish fur prices would explode.
I trap them here heck with fur prices. Could care less about that. I get rid ofem anyway.
TURKEYS
COYOTES
DEER
SQUIRRELS
(all in this order)

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Southern Sportsman
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Southern Sportsman » May 24th, 2018, 10:13 pm

OLE RASPY wrote:
May 24th, 2018, 8:03 pm
Turkinator wrote:
May 20th, 2018, 10:58 am
Where I hunt coons are thick. I don't know how birds ever bring off a hatch. Wish fur prices would explode.
I trap them here heck with fur prices. Could care less about that. I get rid ofem anyway.
Every one helps, but you need lots of people doing it to make a large scale difference. Money is the only way to get lots of people to do it.
I go stubbornly into error by myself, and reach my own fallacious conclusions using my own faulty data. ~Tom Kelly

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Southern Sportsman
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Southern Sportsman » May 24th, 2018, 10:14 pm

OLE RASPY wrote:
May 24th, 2018, 8:03 pm
Turkinator wrote:
May 20th, 2018, 10:58 am
Where I hunt coons are thick. I don't know how birds ever bring off a hatch. Wish fur prices would explode.
I trap them here heck with fur prices. Could care less about that. I get rid ofem anyway.
Every one helps, but you need lots of people doing it to make a large scale difference. Money is the only way to get lots of people to do it.
I go stubbornly into error by myself, and reach my own fallacious conclusions using my own faulty data. ~Tom Kelly

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Southern Sportsman
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Southern Sportsman » May 24th, 2018, 10:33 pm

Rockhound posted this on a TN forum. These are (were) some of the best turkey hunting counties in all of TN. This just goes through 2015 but 2018 was about the same. Not sure what has caused it, and the state is spending millions studying it, but it’s real.

Image
I go stubbornly into error by myself, and reach my own fallacious conclusions using my own faulty data. ~Tom Kelly

dsunday
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by dsunday » May 25th, 2018, 6:10 am

So what can be done?

Predator control and do what you can for habitat, I guess?

Any other thoughts?
"Never trust what you quote from the internet" -Abe Lincoln

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Spuriosity
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Spuriosity » May 25th, 2018, 6:40 am

There's 8 less raccoons on my property than there were a couple of months ago. Don't know what happened to them. :angel4:

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howl
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by howl » May 25th, 2018, 2:14 pm

Coon hunters are always looking for places to hunt. Trouble is deer hunters are always worried about the dogs bothering the deer.

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Stinky J Picklestein
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Stinky J Picklestein » May 25th, 2018, 3:32 pm

The Iowa farms I hunted seemed way down this year; HOWEVER the Missouri farms, less than 50 miles away, were just fine. The problems appear to be very localized.

D&D
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by D&D » May 26th, 2018, 9:13 am

I have been lurking here for quite a while and decided to register after reading this post. I have been hunting Kansas and Nebraska since 2004 and the numbers are 25% now of what they were back then. I live in on 5000 acres in the southeast that gets very little pressure. The population has dropped dramatically since about 2010 and an average of maybe 1 gobbler has been taken each year (because no one really hunts). I have a couple of friends that started trapping heavily about 5 years ago and have seen very positive impacts. I started last year and have seen positive results already. In my opinion, Coyotes (in the southeast anyway) are the straw that broke the camel’s back. They along with other predators are killing hens while on the nest and when they are protecting their young broods. I hunted on a popular WMA in Wayne County Tennessee in early April and I have never seen a place with such a high coyote population in my life. I saw two piles of scat with feathers in them while hunting. There is no doubt in my mind that the number of coyotes on that particular piece of property is what is limiting deer and turkey numbers. It’s a wonder that there are as many as there are. Trapping takes a lot of time but it is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. I almost like catching coyotes more than turkey hunting now. I would highly recommend anyone with land or a hunting lease to buy a dozen traps and try to remove as many as possible.

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Jaybird
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Re: Midwest turkey decline

Post by Jaybird » May 26th, 2018, 9:12 pm

Raccoons and Coyotes are definitely the major culprits in the decline of populations for all birds including Turkey and Pheasants. Back when the prices were still decent, I had a trapper stop to talk to me, and he must have had 25 Raccoons in the back of his pick up. Impressive, but now no one traps. The other predators no one talks about are Hawks, Eagles, and Bobcats. In consecutive days I had a decoy hit by a hawk, and my buddy had his carried away by an Eagle. The Coyotes were so bad in one area of Southern Iowa, it got to the point there was no Gobbling, even on Roost. Until trapping comes back, I don't see it getting better, just worse.
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