Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

A general discussion area for turkey hunters.
Hobbes_mobile
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Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Hobbes_mobile » March 31st, 2021, 5:10 pm

I couldn't begin to answer why the decline, but I saw the following quote posted on Instagram today.
Screenshot_20210331-142609.png
The quote comes from Wayne Bailey's book, 50 Years: Hunting Wild Turkeys. The book was published in 1983.
Screenshot_20210331-150650.png

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guesswho
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by guesswho » March 31st, 2021, 5:27 pm

There you have it!
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Roy
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Roy » March 31st, 2021, 5:31 pm

What is good turkey habitat? Tall grasses?
" Y'all keep discussing it among yourselves...I'm sneakin' in to pop the noisy one. " - Stinky J Picklestein

Ozark Ridge Runner
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Ozark Ridge Runner » March 31st, 2021, 5:45 pm

Gradual habitat loss is certainly a factor but there are more acute causes. I grew up hunting the edge of the Ozarks, where the big timbered hills joined the farm land. We had a growing population in the 70's and a large stable population in the 80's and 90's. Not long after 2000 things changed. Big agriculture began contracting with local farmers to raise domestic turkeys in confinement barns. A few operations at first then they showed up all over the country to the north of the big timber country. The decline of the wild turkey population started at the same time. My theory is that the turkey droppings carried the domestic turkey viruses to the wild population when the land owners spread it onto their crop land. The population in the big timber Ozark area just 40 miles south is more or less the same now as it was in the 80's and 90's. I would say that the population in the farming area is 25% of what it was 20 years ago.

Hobbes_mobile
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Hobbes_mobile » March 31st, 2021, 5:45 pm

Roy wrote:
March 31st, 2021, 5:31 pm
What is good turkey habitat? Tall grasses?
Couldn't tell you but I thought it was interesting that in the early 80s he was saying that we could expect a decline in numbers in the 21st century.

cluckcluckbang
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by cluckcluckbang » March 31st, 2021, 7:46 pm

I also think the decline in turkey numbers in some areas is also due to the decline of the fur trade. Nobody is trapping or shooting predators because there is no money in it anymore. This causing a decline in clutch numbers and flock numbers

PAlongbeards93
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by PAlongbeards93 » March 31st, 2021, 8:21 pm

I think it’s just a combination of things, loss of habitat, number of predators is up, wet and cold spring seasons, and a surge in popularity of turkey hunting. I know here in PA we have had some wet and cold springs the last few years, as well as a raising population of fishers that were reintroduced by our game commission. I also believe owls and hawks do their fair share of killing poults. And to top it off, clear cut logging operations have diminished which leads to less nesting habitat for hens.

coconut
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by coconut » April 1st, 2021, 4:01 am

I think it is largely due to 9’s , 8’s , 4’s and 5’s. Wild turkeys can and do live well in city type habitats as long as there are some houses to roost on , abundant bird feeders , a few shrubs to nest in and no hunting.
I have a bass lake next to a county road that has been overpopulated with bass for years. Couple years ago power company came in and cut the trees to put up a new line making the lake viewable from the road. Shortly after that the poachers came in. Catch some of the poachers but I can’t be there 24/7. They did fix the overpopulation problem but now I fish for 30 minutes or so before I catch a bass.
Also notice that most private lakes that harvest a correct number of bass grow bigger and more numerous bass than the river and creeks around here. The old bass fisherman tell stories about how years ago they used to fill wash tubs with giant bass from the creeks and rivers in my area. I just can’t put my finger on why the bass fishing has declined. I do see lots of big shiny bass boats with modern fish finders , sophisticated fishing lures and really nice fishing poles fishing down the banks almost everyday.

I am not against hunting turkeys at all. All I am saying is there is a strong possibility we are over harvesting them and blaming the decline on everything but the human predator.

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935
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by 935 » April 1st, 2021, 6:04 am

I just re-listened to this podcast. It's completely amazing we have any turkeys at all, with all the critters that want to eat them.

https://www.themeateater.com/listen/mea ... ur-ass-off
Thank you Lord for creating these wonderful birds and allowing us to chase after them.

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gaswamp
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by gaswamp » April 1st, 2021, 7:40 am

Hobbes_mobile wrote:
March 31st, 2021, 5:10 pm
I couldn't begin to answer why the decline, but I saw the following quote posted on Instagram today.

Screenshot_20210331-142609.png

The quote comes from Wayne Bailey's book, 50 Years: Hunting Wild Turkeys. The book was published in 1983.

Screenshot_20210331-150650.png
thanks for sharing....unreal prediction

Fl-Boss
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Fl-Boss » April 1st, 2021, 9:05 am

2 Million + people added each year. 2 millon+ acres of habitat lost each year. Do the math..
Private land lease prices will continue to go through the roof. Thus pushing even more hunters to public land. Turkey hunting will become a full-on $hit show pretty much everywhere in the south over the next 15 -20 years. Already getting that way in most of Florida.
Guided Osceola hunts will cost as much as Elk hunts... Only hunters with big $$$ will have a peaceful and enjoyable hunting experience.

coconut
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by coconut » April 1st, 2021, 11:10 am

With the country headed more and more towards socialism there should be plenty of public land before long. The socialist believe that everyone should own the land not a individual and that only the elite should make decisions cause the mass public is to stupid and must be protected like little children.

Swampstalk
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Swampstalk » April 1st, 2021, 12:43 pm

Loss of habitat is a very real issue in Florida. With between 900-1000 people moving to Florida a day guess what hunting of any kind will be like in the near future. Development pressure is overwhelming throughout central and south Florida. We drove up I-75 a few weeks ago to visit our daughter in Atlanta and couldn't believe the land conversation in the "The Villages" area. Most be 10,000 houses being built or in preparation on thousands of acres of former ranch land. Got a notice of one of the large ranches in southwest of Orlando of over 5,000 acres offered for sale. This ranch was first started in 1847 and was at one time somewhere over 60,000 acres, being the largest east of the Mississippi River.

Even private land hunts may be gone here in the not too distant future. So we'll be up to our hind pockets in people on public! Enjoy it while you can.
Don

quavodus
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by quavodus » April 1st, 2021, 1:22 pm

I live in middle North Tennessee, and the population here has dropped a lot. I heard and saw more birds 15 years ago than now. I don't understand it.
"I live in America, why do I have to press 1 for English?"

sasquatch
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Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by sasquatch » April 1st, 2021, 2:58 pm

We have to realize and address the human population issue eventually

But how dare one mention there’s starting to be too many of us

Unchecked immigration, living longer with more medicines, have as many kids as you want, medical advancements where ppl who can’t have them now can, each person wants more and more space, total lack of care for the habitat we destroy, the list goes on forever

Big business will always be open to more ppl. More ppl to buy the bull**** trinkets they make. We have an economy based off fidget spinners and Facebook.

There’s a shocking about of ppl who would be happy living on top one anything and eating synthetic meats as long as they have a computer inside to play on.

We are the single most destructive species by a long shot. We destroy everything to have malls to shop at and buy useless things with money we don’t have on credit.


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quavodus
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by quavodus » April 1st, 2021, 4:39 pm

It's partly population but, there's areas that have a small human population and the turkeys have dropped in numbers drastically.
"I live in America, why do I have to press 1 for English?"

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Stinky J Picklestein
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Stinky J Picklestein » April 1st, 2021, 5:02 pm

He's wrong. It was me. That's about the time I started hunting. Sorry about that y'all...

quavodus
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by quavodus » April 1st, 2021, 5:25 pm

Stinky J Picklestein wrote:
April 1st, 2021, 5:02 pm
He's wrong. It was me. That's about the time I started hunting. Sorry about that y'all...
:LMAO:
"I live in America, why do I have to press 1 for English?"

Hobbes_mobile
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Hobbes_mobile » April 1st, 2021, 5:52 pm

Stinky J Picklestein wrote:
April 1st, 2021, 5:02 pm
He's wrong. It was me. That's about the time I started hunting. Sorry about that y'all...

Stay out of Montana then. :)

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Stinky J Picklestein
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Stinky J Picklestein » April 1st, 2021, 5:55 pm

Hobbes_mobile wrote:
April 1st, 2021, 5:52 pm
Stinky J Picklestein wrote:
April 1st, 2021, 5:02 pm
He's wrong. It was me. That's about the time I started hunting. Sorry about that y'all...

Stay out of Montana then. :)
If I don't have an ex-wife living there, it's fair game.

Prospector
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Prospector » April 2nd, 2021, 7:58 am

Here in Miss I believe it’s the combo but #1 is ( as I said before) is our positive profit, negative wildlife logging industry. I believe the wild Turkey requires diverse habitat BUT is a bit more dependent on mast producing trees for fall, winter, early spring forage. And our hardwoods are disappearing fast. As I write this I can hear saws in the background as more timber becomes a 400 acre cutover that in a few years only deer and rabbits can move thru. And when I say 400 acres I mean it- without break, without tree line, no roosts, no openings no access! I find turkeys in older pine stands but in much lower numbers. Usually sign is confined to specific areas with a non pine tree there. Timber companies are unscrupulous concerning wildlife and loggers are akin to repo men imo- sorry if I offend.
I also believe in egg/ nest/ poult predation but the Wild Turkey is built to handle that . With the right habitat the population will ebb and flow as designed
But taken into conjunction with all other factors and esp the habitat loss? Then it becomes a hard row to hoe so to speak.
Average caller;Never won a contest; No sponsers; Shoot a cheap shotgun, no TSS; Believe you can overcall; Hate tent blinds;Dont reap; Believe that the line between Turkey Hunting and turkey killin is 40ish yards: Yet occasionally kill a gobbler...

coconut
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by coconut » April 2nd, 2021, 2:09 pm

I can remember in my youth seeing flocks of turkeys feeding in hardwoods. Might be 60- 70 hens with jakes in a group. Hardwoods and the groups are gone now. Couple that with over harvest of the remaining population and it’s going to even to get worse. If the habitat doesn’t support high levels of harvest the harvest must be adjusted.

Prospector
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Prospector » April 3rd, 2021, 8:21 am

...and after further thought( gonna step on toes here; mine included😉). “We” are at fault for the increase in Turkey hunting popularity. “We” buy and support all the stuff that makes it a little easier to kill a Turkey. Better guns, better ammo to kill em further. Weather proof blind and realistic dekes. Better calls. The price of admission into Turkey hunting ranks is perhaps hi in dollars but lower in actual skill set. OMG let’s not forget better trucks to get us there, electric utvs and bikes so we’re not range limited by our doughnut consumption. It’s partially our fault too fellas.....
Average caller;Never won a contest; No sponsers; Shoot a cheap shotgun, no TSS; Believe you can overcall; Hate tent blinds;Dont reap; Believe that the line between Turkey Hunting and turkey killin is 40ish yards: Yet occasionally kill a gobbler...

Dtrkyman
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by Dtrkyman » April 7th, 2021, 9:15 am

Numbers are nor exact but basically poult's per hen have dropped from nearly 4 to under 2, and not all hens have a nest, and many nests do not even produce a poult. So what is left are hens that are not even replacing themselves if they hatch a male bird.

Predators and habitat are probably the most critical factors, unfortunately when the prey species thrive so do the predators!

Of course we play a role, but what we harvest is less impactful than how we manage the lands and predators, once breeding has peaked a large percentage of the gobblers are expendable.

Season structure looks like it has a large impact, killing toms prior to peak breeding dates seems foolish, several states delay harvest, but they are still having poor reproduction. Illinois and Missouri are prime examples, parts of Illinois are having issues with invasive honeysuckle, once that garbage takes over there is no ground cover, and the properties I have been on with a lot of it have little or no birds!

coconut
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Re: Decline of Wild Turkey Populations

Post by coconut » April 7th, 2021, 11:22 am

Is invasive honey suckle the same thing as regular honeysuckle? We often promote honey suckle growth in my area as nutritious deer food.

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