Tennessee Turkeys

VOLhunter

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Joined
Jun 10, 2018
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183
Location
Knoxville, TN
How would you feel if your state wildlife management agency paid $10,000 to YouTube influencers in order to increase the number of nonresident hunters coming to your state to kill a specific species of game animal?

I don’t know who The Angry Bowhunter is but I think we may have been separated at birth. At the very least, you could say he’s my kind of people. I was led to his site a couple weeks ago while reading the social media thread. Last night I read a new article about how the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency paid $10k to The Hunting Public in order to attract more out of state hunters to Tennessee. This might sound like a simply stupid idea, but wait, there’s more!

This move came immediately after our wildlife commission, following a period of public comment of which I added my .02, voted to reduce the number of turkeys each hunter was allowed to harvest. Our turkey numbers have been declining over the past years and it has taken a very long time for our wildlife commission to even discuss the idea of tag reduction. Overall, I’ve been pleased with the TWRA as a lifelong Tennessean. I’ve been involved with research projects for them, cleanup projects for our streams and rivers, and I’ve always tried to stay knowledgeable about their efforts, projects, and direction for my state’s wildlife.

It’s funny that the public wasn’t asked to comment on this idea though. Well, the idea certainly worked. Many more nonresidents hunted turkeys in Tennessee last year, and many many more birds were killed. In fact more birds were killed than before the tag numbers were reduced. You can bet your ass TWRA will be hearing from me on Monday morning as I’ll be providing my input to every level of TWRA management and to the Governor’s office who appointed our wildlife commission.

Here’s the article from TAB.
 

TN_Rifle_Junkie

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Aug 26, 2019
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305
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Great Smoky Mountains
We hunted some of the most productive areas in northeastern TN located in a WMA. It was amazing how many people were out hunting turkeys in the same area. I have noted over the last three years that the turkeys are extremely "call shy" and worse yet, boogy quickly into the bushes as soon as they hear a cluck, yelp, or scratch.

It will take some serious conservation by TN to reverse the trend, but with the NWTF using Nashville as it's location every year for the banquet, it's gonna be tough. Just gotta get out earlier and stay longer hoping one of those gobblers comes struttin by.

On a side note, if you wnat to see what non-hunted turkeys look like and act like, go up to the Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains. There are 14" tri-beards up there and huge flocks just strutting around all year long. They own that campgound and they will let you know it. I have been chased on several occasions by a big tom who was unhappy I was in his "zone". They can be quite aggressive when left wild and unhunted.
 

VOLhunter

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Jun 10, 2018
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183
Location
Knoxville, TN
I’ll be interested to hear what kind of smoke they blow when I start asking about this project. My Aunt has worked for TWRA for more than 20 years and I have a cousin who’s a game warden with them. Neither one of them knew about this so I guess it was kept quiet for obvious reasons. I’ve searched all over TWRA’s website and couldn’t find anything about it.
 

np307

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Jun 25, 2018
Messages
689
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North Carolina
Paying for media exposure, I dont have a problem with. It's not secret that game commissions make money off of nonresident sales, I imagine the bet was $10k was a bargain for the revenue return.

For me, the biggest problem is that it was a targeted campaign to increase pressure on a species TWRA had already acknowledged needed help and anyone with half a brain could tell that TN wasn't immune to the problems of the rest of the SE.

I'm definitely a little disappointed that THP took the money but I'm sure if they didn't, someone else would have. Also, it unfortunately doesn't seem to matter whether TN paid THP or not, the fact that THP went there meant NR pressure was going to increase. On a local board there's already a gear growing that some good turkey areas are going to get blown up because they are coming to NC this year. I don't watch them as much as I used to, but when I do its because they have some seriously good hunters in the group. They do lack in the conservation department though. Noticeably.
 

VOLhunter

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Jun 10, 2018
Messages
183
Location
Knoxville, TN
I had never heard of THP before except in passing on a podcast by Randy I believe. I was at 2 of the public meetings for evaluating the restructuring of the turkey harvest objectives. My uncle was at 3, as his wife works for TWRA. He is very passionate about turkey hunting and conservation, and has been since the 80's when there weren't many birds in TN. Every meeting I or my uncle were at, the vast majority (90% or more), were in favor of reducing the harvest from 4 birds to 2. Somehow the commission decided on 3 for the new harvest limit. I fully understand game commissions marketing to nonresidents as a large portion of funds in many states (i.e.. CO OTC elk) come from nonresident hunters.

I'm in agreement with you @np307. What pisses me off is they did this after the public, biologist, landowners, and TWRA's experts in wildlife management forced the wildlife commission to reduce the harvest. This goes directly against their own mission statement. If they want to recruit hunters to kill all the deer they can in our CWD zone then by all means. But to target a species that we have worked so hard to restore is either a slap in face or an example of ideocracy in action.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 11, 2016
Messages
61
Paying for media exposure, I dont have a problem with. It's not secret that game commissions make money off of nonresident sales, I imagine the bet was $10k was a bargain for the revenue return.

For me, the biggest problem is that it was a targeted campaign to increase pressure on a species TWRA had already acknowledged needed help and anyone with half a brain could tell that TN wasn't immune to the problems of the rest of the SE.

I'm definitely a little disappointed that THP took the money but I'm sure if they didn't, someone else would have. Also, it unfortunately doesn't seem to matter whether TN paid THP or not, the fact that THP went there meant NR pressure was going to increase. On a local board there's already a gear growing that some good turkey areas are going to get blown up because they are coming to NC this year. I don't watch them as much as I used to, but when I do its because they have some seriously good hunters in the group. They do lack in the conservation department though. Noticeably.
A game commission is not a for profit organization. Their reason for being is to manage the wildlife for the benefit of the residents. It is not their goal to increase revenue via promoting out of state license sales.
 

np307

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Jun 25, 2018
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689
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North Carolina
A game commission is not a for profit organization. Their reason for being is to manage the wildlife for the benefit of the residents. It is not their goal to increase revenue via promoting out of state license sales.
Well I guess the whole western US better rethink their game management strategy then. And residents better be ready to pay up.

That wildlife management requires money. If residents and non-residents are leaving a surplus on the table of a given species, whats wrong with letting NR know theres an opportunity open? That wasn't the case here but it certainly could be in some other states.
 

Slm864

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Mar 30, 2019
Messages
666
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Pennsylvania
I think it’s a matter of time before all these ridiculous influencers start getting turned against. At least I hope that’s what happens.
The hunting public came to PA to deer hunt public land and showed exact areas they were hunting. Basically ruined the area now.
I hope they start finding their hunting rigs on blocks at the trailheads soon.
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
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I think it’s a matter of time before all these ridiculous influencers start getting turned against. At least I hope that’s what happens.
The hunting public came to PA to deer hunt public land and showed exact areas they were hunting. Basically ruined the area now.
I hope they start finding their hunting rigs on blocks at the trailheads soon.
I have hunted those areas for years. They have always been hunted hard, THP brought in no more pressure than was already there. Just look at the last video in that series when it was opening day of youth season, there had to be 50 cars at every pull off
 

Slm864

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Pennsylvania
I have hunted those areas for years. They have always been hunted hard, THP brought in no more pressure than was already there. Just look at the last video in that series when it was opening day of youth season, there had to be 50 cars at every pull off
I make it a point to not watch any of there stuff anymore. I’m sorry I watched it even the few times I did.
 

VOLhunter

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Jun 10, 2018
Messages
183
Location
Knoxville, TN
I checked out their YouTube channel and noticed all the videos about TN from spring of 2020. Last year they focused on Kentucky. This year they have videos about Wisconsin being the best state ever for turkey hunting. I posted a comment asking if KY and WI also paid them $10k for the videos or are states now trying to outbid each other for their influencing. My post was quickly removed :eek::ROFLMAO:!
 

Slm864

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Mar 30, 2019
Messages
666
Location
Pennsylvania
I checked out their YouTube channel and noticed all the videos about TN from spring of 2020. Last year they focused on Kentucky. This year they have videos about Wisconsin being the best state ever for turkey hunting. I posted a comment asking if KY and WI also paid them $10k for the videos or are states now trying to outbid each other for their influencing. My post was quickly removed :eek::ROFLMAO:!
Keep posting it on there asking again!
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Location
Iowa
THP cashed in on AZGF too. Newberg was paid by AZ, MT, and CO to promote NR hunting on public land. There are MANY other examples.

Influencers are coy about their payouts, and the game and fish agencies do everything they can to hide who they paid and how much. If these were such great arrangements, while all the smoke and mirrors?

An often cited justification for these arrangements is “revenue”. If the game agency openly asked resident hunters what they wanted, I am doubtful they’d say “pay celebrities, VIP’s, and influencers to hunt where I hunt.” Residents are often willing to pony up and pay more for their own tags, or at least be willing to settle for a more modestly-funded G&F dept.

Who wins from these arrangements?
-G&F dept job security
-The influencers bring paid
-NR’s who learn about new hunting opportunities

And the losers?
-Resident hunters
-Public land
-Wildlife

Pay 1 influencer and it spawns 1000 more wannabes who hunt and film with the hope of being paid. It is a major accelerant to the commodification, monetization, and privatization of hunting in North America.

If the resource could handle the increased NR pressure, it wouldn’t matter. But the promotions overwhelmingly target saturated public resources. Do the influencers back out, realizing the damage they’ve done? No, they keep collecting a paycheck or look for a new paying gig elsewhere. Do the G&F Depts, seeing how much the resource is being stressed, quit paying influencers? Sometimes. AZ instead opted to cut resident Coues tags. TN cut resident turkey tags.
 

VOLhunter

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Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
183
Location
Knoxville, TN
THP cashed in on AZGF too. Newberg was paid by AZ, MT, and CO to promote NR hunting on public land. There are MANY other examples.

Influencers are coy about their payouts, and the game and fish agencies do everything they can to hide who they paid and how much. If these were such great arrangements, while all the smoke and mirrors?

An often cited justification for these arrangements is “revenue”. If the game agency openly asked resident hunters what they wanted, I am doubtful they’d say “pay celebrities, VIP’s, and influencers to hunt where I hunt.” Residents are often willing to pony up and pay more for their own tags, or at least be willing to settle for a more modestly-funded G&F dept.

Who wins from these arrangements?
-G&F dept job security
-The influencers bring paid
-NR’s who learn about new hunting opportunities

And the losers?
-Resident hunters
-Public land
-Wildlife

Pay 1 influencer and it spawns 1000 more wannabes who hunt and film with the hope of being paid. It is a major accelerant to the commodification, monetization, and privatization of hunting in North America.

If the resource could handle the increased NR pressure, it wouldn’t matter. But the promotions overwhelmingly target saturated public resources. Do the influencers back out, realizing the damage they’ve done? No, they keep collecting a paycheck or look for a new paying gig elsewhere. Do the G&F Depts, seeing how much the resource is being stressed, quit paying influencers? Sometimes. AZ instead opted to cut resident Coues tags. TN cut resident turkey tags.
I think it's ridiculous for states to pay celebrity hunters. I would like to think they would at least have the sense to protect vulnerable or at-risk species within their states and advertise opportunities that align with sound population management principles. I know that's asking a lot when dollar signs are involved.
 

brownbear932008

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Jul 15, 2011
Messages
2,527
Location
SWVA
I use to really enjoy watching the THP crew. But recently several of their videos have made me sick watching them put a hurting on gobblers on parcels of public. I watched them take 5 birds off a location I'm familiar with last year. I can 100% tell you the areas turkey population isn't that good. Then they have the nerve to post videos about turkey populations going to the wayside. These guys have zero respect for the game they harvest IMO. Just about the killing and media hits.
 

Slm864

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Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
666
Location
Pennsylvania
I use to really enjoy watching the THP crew. But recently several of their videos have made me sick watching them put a hurting on gobblers on parcels of public. I watched them take 5 birds off a location I'm familiar with last year. I can 100% tell you the areas turkey population isn't that good. Then they have the nerve to post videos about turkey populations going to the wayside. These guys have zero respect for the game they harvest IMO. Just about the killing and media hits.
I’m convinced they would harvest right up to the point of extinction as long as it meant a few more people pressing that subscribe button.
 

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