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2022 spring turkey

Scott85

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Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
1,178
Turkeys: 3
Matt: 0

I'm pretty sure I have hunting ADD. I had plans to park myself in one of those spots I had seen birds last time out, but on the way up I couldn't resist the lure of a gated road up a canyon with a creek running down it. 5 miles of hiking later and not so much as a sign of turkeys. This place just seems like it would have such potential, though. Someone really ought to let the birds know about it.

Hung out for a bit in a meadow.

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It was a nice morning for a stroll anyhow, the views were great.
View attachment 222723

I did go check out my previous spots later in the morning, but didn't see or hear any birds at all. I chatted with another hunter for a minute, he hadn't seen anything either. I did spot a few birds on private land on the drive home.

I'm not sure if I will be able to get out again before the end of the month, but a boy can dream.
It's pretty country for sure.
 

Gellar

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Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
3,493
Location
The Driftless Area
Turkeys: 3
Matt: 0

I'm pretty sure I have hunting ADD. I had plans to park myself in one of those spots I had seen birds last time out, but on the way up I couldn't resist the lure of a gated road up a canyon with a creek running down it. 5 miles of hiking later and not so much as a sign of turkeys. This place just seems like it would have such potential, though. Someone really ought to let the birds know about it.

Hung out for a bit in a meadow.

View attachment 222722


It was a nice morning for a stroll anyhow, the views were great.
View attachment 222723

I did go check out my previous spots later in the morning, but didn't see or hear any birds at all. I chatted with another hunter for a minute, he hadn't seen anything either. I did spot a few birds on private land on the drive home.

I'm not sure if I will be able to get out again before the end of the month, but a boy can dream.
I suffer from hunting ADD too. Saturday I heard gobbles so I got set up and after an hour nothing. I moved about 3/4 of a mile away and got set up again. I started to hear gobbling where I was at before so I hightailed it back. I had to set up about 200 yards from where I was earlier because the turkey was almost exactly where I was calling from earlier.
 

mdcrossbow

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Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Messages
1,125
Location
Gaithersburg Md
Birds were gobbling all morning but no big boy would come in the field to play. Can you blame them ? They'd get there asses beat !
Finally got six of these bullies to leave but one stuck around at least 30 minutes beating the decoy up them humping it then a small siesta. I finally just stood up and told him to leave. He looked rejected and wondered off looking for his brothers who were long gone.
 

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Wild Bill

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Dec 9, 2015
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422
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SD
051422.jpg
I was able to find another willing participant this weekend. He came in fired up and put on a good show for me. He spiffed himself up by preening himself and taking a nice dust bath between his strutting and gobbling as he was working into range. With two tags left in the pocket, the boat is going to have to stay in storage a little longer!
 

mdcrossbow

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Feb 25, 2007
Messages
1,125
Location
Gaithersburg Md
An exciting day ! Got it done in Pa. Walked back to the blind after lunch. Everything is wet, not making any noise. Got lucky. I saw him1st and had 2 trees in front of me. He was beating up the Jake decoy , so his attention was elsewhere. I waited for him to step away from the decoy and no flop down. 45-50 yards.
One thing I didn't mention is that this bird I was working latter half of the morning. Pretty sure he was the same Tom. I know he had hens and was strutting in another tilled field a good Quarter mile. He would get to within 100 yards up on an old RR track that was grown over and then back to the tilled field. So we left for lunch about 12:30 which gave him a good 1.5 hrs of no calling. Toms usually will only hang around a decoy about 10 - 15 minutes. So that gives me a bit more educations about these birds specially an old Tom who is call shy.
This guy had a #5 shot in one leg. My buddy said he saw him a few years ago and could hardly walk. So it puts him at 5+ years. Another big heavy old Tom. #4 for the season.
 

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Gellar

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Jan 31, 2014
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Location
The Driftless Area
Many turkey seasons are winding down. What was your assessment of the population in your area? If it’s decreasing in your area like many what would you like your Game and fish to try and curb the problem?

Like I have said before, I do not think turkeys are decreasing where I hunt but looking at other areas it is probably only a matter of time. I would be happy some changes. The first would be 1 Tom in the spring. We can currently harvest 2. And the other change would be no hens in the fall season.
I think our DNR would argue not enough hunters are harvesting two birds in the spring or hens in the fall to make a difference, but some of doom and gloom population stories you hunters have shared make me think even small changes to get ahead of the curve are good before it takes a serious plunge.
 

Wild Bill

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Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
422
Location
SD
Many turkey seasons are winding down. What was your assessment of the population in your area? If it’s decreasing in your area like many what would you like your Game and fish to try and curb the problem?

Like I have said before, I do not think turkeys are decreasing where I hunt but looking at other areas it is probably only a matter of time. I would be happy some changes. The first would be 1 Tom in the spring. We can currently harvest 2. And the other change would be no hens in the fall season.
I think our DNR would argue not enough hunters are harvesting two birds in the spring or hens in the fall to make a difference, but some of doom and gloom population stories you hunters have shared make me think even small changes to get ahead of the curve are good before it takes a serious plunge.
In South Dakota, the Black Hills turkey population seems to be struggling. I believe it was last year they did away with the opportunity to purchase a second tag that is valid only during May, so now it is just one tag per person for the entire season. The main issue to me though is that the entire Black Hills turkey zone remains and uncapped OTC tag. I would like to see GFP put a total tag cap on the Black Hills. How that is split up between res and non-res is whatever. Another option that I would like to see is creating a draw for the Black Hills unit, like we have for the rest of the state. Have it go through the same draw process, and then whatever tags are left over (if any) become OTC. Either way something needs to be done before starts to fall off more dramatically.

I do agree with you though with the fall season. I don't see any reason why shooting hens needs to be allowed. Make it a bearded bird and call it good.
 

Gellar

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The Driftless Area
In South Dakota, the Black Hills turkey population seems to be struggling. I believe it was last year they did away with the opportunity to purchase a second tag that is valid only during May, so now it is just one tag per person for the entire season. The main issue to me though is that the entire Black Hills turkey zone remains and uncapped OTC tag. I would like to see GFP put a total tag cap on the Black Hills. How that is split up between res and non-res is whatever. Another option that I would like to see is creating a draw for the Black Hills unit, like we have for the rest of the state. Have it go through the same draw process, and then whatever tags are left over (if any) become OTC. Either way something needs to be done before starts to fall off more dramatically.

I do agree with you though with the fall season. I don't see any reason why shooting hens needs to be allowed. Make it a bearded bird and call it good.
It wasn’t to long ago here in Iowa that turkeys were on a draw for all seasons. If I remember each county had a quota, but it was usually high enough everyone got a tag. Our fall season still has a otc quota of turkeys but I don’t think they ever reach the number.
 

WestKyHunt

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Feb 24, 2020
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636
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COS
Definitely think most states should go 1 general tag with the ability to get an additional special draw for specific state/federal areas. CO uses this system and I dig it.
If we could make trapping and predator control "cool" it would help.
In my corner of KY nest predator populations have been on the rise for quite awhile.

Habitat improvements on public land and seminars to teach land owners those improvements could also be beneficial
 

Wild Bill

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Dec 9, 2015
Messages
422
Location
SD
If we could make trapping and predator control "cool" it would help
I agree. Predator control is probably interchangeable with habitat loss as Turkey Enemy #1.

One of, if not the biggest obstacle to overcome when it comes to trapping nest predators is separating trapping from the financial benefits. So much of trapping is driven by the fur markets that when prices are down, almost nobody is out there besides the hardcore lifelong trappers. When the markets are booming and prices are high, a lot more guys are pulling out their coon cuffs and putting in a little effort, which does make a difference. There needs to be more of a sense of ownership amongst turkey hunters to get out there and protect hens and their nests if they want to keep seeing populations grow. I think nest predator control is starting to gain a little more traction with folks thanks to some social media campaigns by NWTF, Delta Waterfowl, some instagram hunters (🙄), etc.

A question that goes along with that point is, if markets are down what are you going to do with the critters you trap? As hunters we're conditioned to respect and use the animals we take. If prices are down and no one wants to give you much of anything for a racoon pelt do you just throw it away? Do you skin it, flesh it, and stretch it and hang on to it in the freezer for how long? What if you don't have expendable time to do all of that? Some people aren't comfortable with making those decisions and they'd rather sit out and not have to.
 

Gellar

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The Driftless Area
I 💯 agree with controlling nest predators. It is good for all wildlife. I didn’t include it because like mentioned trapping participation is up and down based on the market. With the business in Russia it is not going to help due markets as a large portion of our wild caught fur goes to Russia and China.
 

Chad Gus

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Mar 18, 2013
Messages
772
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Clark County WI
From what I'm seeing and hearing I'd say numbers are holding steady to slightly increasing around me, on private anyway. I'm only 2 miles from a huge track of public (150,000 acres) and turkey numbers are a fraction of what they used to be, still birds to be had, but you're gonna have to work for them, especially if you're not familiar with the area and know there preferred areas.
There's technically no limit on the number of turkey you can kill in the spring here, as long as there's leftovers still available, you can buy one a day, good for public or private. I would like to see a hard cap on the number of tags available for public and the number you can kill here.
 

NEWHunter

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Jul 15, 2018
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931
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Brookfield, WI
I’m definitely seeing fewer birds here in my areas in eastern WI. I’ve seen numbers on a slow decline over the last several years. At our peak in the mid 2000s we harvested 65K birds. Last year around 43K in WI. Tag numbers haven’t really changed.

I’d like some detailed data on harvest numbers, but off the top of my head I’d like to see us limited to one or maybe two birds a year, including our fall season. I’ve been seeing stuff here and there about the timing of seasons (opening too early) potentially having an impact on breeding and population- something I need to look in to more before opining.

I’d like to see the DNR spend some more money to find out the cause of the decline. Is it west nile/avian flu, season timing, predators, etc. Pay for it by increasing nonresident tag costs of course.

@gussyfarm what do you think our yearly bag limit should be?
 

Chad Gus

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Clark County WI
@NEWHunter
Just off what I'm seeing locally, a 2 bird limit, with a max of 1 killed on public.
I would like to see the 1st season moved back a week and the 6th season eliminated.
For the most part a like Wisconsin turkey season structure.
Me personally, i prefer the last 2 weeks here, virtually no pressure from other hunters, birds are still very much active and responsive to calls. I do most of my turkey hunting those last 2 weeks and let the wife and kids have the early weeks.
Or no fanning, reaping or decoys the first two seasons.
 
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shannerdrake

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Feb 14, 2017
Messages
392
Location
Indiana
Yeah I don't know why I'm so excited to pay more for turkey loads when I've had no problem in the past killing them with standard 2 2/4 or 3 inch #5 or #6 lead. It is unique hearing a "cha-ching" sound each time you pull the trigger when shooting TSS instead of the usual "bang" however.
So I have a question. I don't mean this to start an argument or to pick on anyone, but I have seen something like this posted numerous times - "I've killed X amount of birds with lead #5s and they work just fine."

So here's my question for all of you lead 5 or lead 6 guys out there, in all of your years of laying down birds with lead, have you never wounded one or knocked feathers off one that got away?

Personally I have and I know lots of guys who have. That's where I think TSS is worth it. For those birds that didn't go down or when someone misjudges yardage or follow up shots, or whatever.
 

Gellar

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I’m definitely seeing fewer birds here in my areas in eastern WI. I’ve seen numbers on a slow decline over the last several years. At our peak in the mid 2000s we harvested 65K birds. Last year around 43K in WI. Tag numbers haven’t really changed.

I’d like some detailed data on harvest numbers, but off the top of my head I’d like to see us limited to one or maybe two birds a year, including our fall season. I’ve been seeing stuff here and there about the timing of seasons (opening too early) potentially having an impact on breeding and population- something I need to look in to more before opining.

I’d like to see the DNR spend some more money to find out the cause of the decline. Is it west nile/avian flu, season timing, predators, etc. Pay for it by increasing nonresident tag costs of course.

@gussyfarm what do you think our yearly bag limit should be?
I would be ok with moving seasons back. Our first season starts the 2nd Monday of April and the birds are usually still in their winter flicks with none or little breeding going on. A week later if you kill a Tom it’s belly is rubbed raw from breeding hens.

The first season in Iowa is my favorite season though because there are lots less hunters.
 

NEWHunter

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Jul 15, 2018
Messages
931
Location
Brookfield, WI
@NEWHunter
Just off what I'm seeing locally, a 2 bird limit, with a max of 1 killed on public.
I would like to see the 1st season moved back a week and the 6th season eliminated.
For the most part a like Wisconsin turkey season structure.
Me personally, i prefer the last 2 weeks here, virtually no pressure from other hunters, birds are still very much active and responsive to calls. I do most of my turkey hunting those last 2 weeks and let the wife and kids have the early weeks.
Or no fanning, reaping or decoys the first two seasons.
I’m all for it. Two bird limit with one on public and a five week season starting a week later. Now we just need someone in the legislature to champion it and get it done.

I’d be curious how many birds each year are somebody’s third or more. Would a two bird limit save 300 birds a year or 3,000? I’ve shot two a time or two, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever taken three.

I think we have a decent framework for turkey as well. I like the youth opportunity, although I’d probably like to see the age moved from 15 to 14. I like the separate weeks and the opportunity to get out right away and then usually another chance or two a month or so later. Never have, but I like the idea of being able to take one with my bow in the fall we’re I so inclined.

I’d like to think a couple tweaks like you proposed could get us back closer to the good old days of turkey hunting we had 15 years ago. It’s not bad right now, but I fear we aren’t that far away from turkey hunting not being close to what it once was in Wisconsin
 

mdcrossbow

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Feb 25, 2007
Messages
1,125
Location
Gaithersburg Md
The only state I hunt with a 3 bird limit is Va. I've chosen to stick with 2 or 1 depending on the population. Maryland is a 2 bird state. 1 person or 2 in the spring if you didn't tag one in the fall.
2 bird limit I think is fine. For areas that are bird heavy.
I've said it before. Areas where farming has gone to no till the birds are way down in population. Across the country no till has be widely accepted. No where in these areas have I seen flocks one to 4 birds at the most. In the non farming areas. Horse country, woodlands and mountains birds are striving.
 
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