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 Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline widens 
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Longbeard

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:27 am
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Location: Lynchburg, VA
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
It does seem that a good mast will result in a good spring season. Have u guys noticed this too?

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 pm
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King of Spring
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Location: Midland, VA
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
Roy S wrote:
It does seem that a good mast will result in a good spring season. Have u guys noticed this too?



Yes, when there is a good mass crop and fair winter the turkeys do seem in better health for breeding and laying. Usually the spring after a good fall mass and with the other variables a good hatch results and for what ever reason more Jakes then Jenny's resulting in good gobbling 2 year olds the following year, Also after a sacada hatch there seems to be a better survival rate for the poults.


Earl

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:49 am
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King of Spring

Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:02 am
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Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
I have no idea why but I know for sure there are less birds in a lot of the places I hunt. In 1998 there is a mountain I would climb in Georgia and here lots of birds every single day, and it was that way every year through 2005, I've been there multiple times in the last three years and haven't heard a bird. All over NE GA there is a substantial decrease in birds. Less birds in sc, they recently went from 5 to 3 a year. My spots in NC and VA have remained pretty good, but even there it seems like less birds. I know a lot of yall have been hunting them longer than me but even over twenty five years I been hunting them it seems the numbers of hunters has dramatically increased, except maybe the last few years. Techniques have changed making it easier to kill birds with a lot less boot time and experience, loads have gotten better. Reporting has gotten lax, I used to take me to a service station in Virginia and sometimes they would take a feather. There's videos and forums, etc. Kauai is an awesome place, awesome hikes, nature that is so incredible it seems fake, we love it, others do too now you go on a hike there and there's 200 other folks, trash etc. Maybe the appeal of it ends up killing it. Who knows, nature is resilent maybe they will bounce back. I know most guys won't keep getting up every morning if there aren't birds gobbling.


Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:01 am
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King of Spring
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:12 am
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Location: Midland, VA
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
T.W. wrote:
I have no idea why but I know for sure there are less birds in a lot of the places I hunt. In 1998 there is a mountain I would climb in Georgia and here lots of birds every single day, and it was that way every year through 2005, I've been there multiple times in the last three years and haven't heard a bird. All over NE GA there is a substantial decrease in birds. Less birds in sc, they recently went from 5 to 3 a year. My spots in NC and VA have remained pretty good, but even there it seems like less birds. I know a lot of yall have been hunting them longer than me but even over twenty five years I been hunting them it seems the numbers of hunters has dramatically increased, except maybe the last few years. Techniques have changed making it easier to kill birds with a lot less boot time and experience, loads have gotten better. Reporting has gotten lax, I used to take me to a service station in Virginia and sometimes they would take a feather. There's videos and forums, etc. Kauai is an awesome place, awesome hikes, nature that is so incredible it seems fake, we love it, others do too now you go on a hike there and there's 200 other folks, trash etc. Maybe the appeal of it ends up killing it. Who knows, nature is resilent maybe they will bounce back. I know most guys won't keep getting up every morning if there aren't birds gobbling.



You got that right on reporting. Most everyone has been on the honor system when they kill a bird. But there are I am sure many that have left an area with a bird or two that never is reported. I know that most States have a fudge factor when estimating kills for poaching and wounding, but don't know if they have one for not reporting unless that is factored in on the poaching figure.

Also your last sentence, I have heard folks say that when they don't hear birds that they must be in the non gobbling phase and that they would not hunt for the next few days. I usually say yea thats right and enjoy less hunter pressure/interference for a few days.


Earl

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Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:13 pm
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Co-Owner/Dog Feeder

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:20 am
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Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
TW- glad you showed up at least once in 2018!

Missed hearing your reports from last spring, and figured that HAT must have lost its magic powers.

Im sort of like you...that gobble is what makes a good hunt for me too. I hate to think this decline is a permanent thing. I have a pretty good numbers of location options to hunt in the spring, and can somewhat avoid the serious decline areas. i am very lucky in that regard. if l was unable to move around much and was in an area of a 'decline state' that had a bird population decline as bad as some apparently are then I would be one very unhappy camper. Once you have experienced hunting a great abundance of spring birds it tests your metal to anchor in for a poor season, no matter how much else you love about the spring woods in terms of observing nature.

Hope you have a great spring , and at least report back as it gets to be the season.....

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Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:57 am
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Longbeard

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:27 am
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Location: Lynchburg, VA
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
A little of what I've seen. I think u guys mite agree with it.

I have lived in wv and va and have hunted both. I grew up in WV and first went spring gobbler hunting in 1983. I can remember in the 80s the birds were very vocal and there were lots of them. It was true as I remember if u worked a tom and messed up on him, u just went around the property and found another one to work. That was very true! The 90s rolled around with alot of the same. Very good hunting and lots of birds. Very vocal. The 2000s rolled around with bird numbers continuing to drop and less gobbling, JMO. But, I have heard some say that there mite be as many birds, but just alot less gobbling. That is one thing I can say for sure, there is less gobbling now. I grew up bird hunting with my dad and grandfather. They have been fall bird hunting in the virginias since the early 50s and then started spring hunting when it first started, '67 or 68' I believe. So, over the years we have talked about how turkey hunting has changed. My grandfather told me up here (WV) on the NF in the 70s he never saw anyone else hunting or calling birds in the spring. Alot has changed. One thing I do know for sure in WV is a hard winter with no mast will take a toll on the game.

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Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:17 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:20 am
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Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
roy S says---"". I grew up in WV and first went spring gobbler hunting in 1983. I can remember in the 80s the birds were very vocal and there were lots of them. It was true as I remember if u worked a tom and messed up on him, u just went around the property and found another one to work. That was very true! ""

you are correct my friend.....there was also virtually no hunting pressure by man or predators in many of the areas where the turkeys were reintroduced.. It was "as good as it could get" for hearing gobbling birds ..

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"even after almost a half-century of hunting of the noblest game bird I am going to confess that I am still in the kindergarten; and I doubt if any human being ever acquires a complete education in this high art."
- Archibald Rutledge


Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:25 pm
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King of Spring
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Location: Midland, VA
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
Very true Roy. Back when I started hunting fall season with my grandfather in 1958 in PA and then spring season of 1968 I did not see as many turkeys as today but like yourself in the 80's it was lots of vocalization from the turkey's in spring and fall. But back in the early days like your father and grandfather if you messed up on one you were basically done for the day or days.

And like yourself in the early 2000's is when I noticed a little change but today especially hunting public land birds the vocalization and response of fall/spring birds is a lot less and less in bird populations. We have, that is fall turkey dog hunters that I know, some of us have changed our tactics after a break so far as setups and calling.

Turkeys are evolving, adapting to thier environment. I have even in the spring started using more then in past years gobbler calls (clucks/yelps/fighting purrs) with success.

But like they say the good old days are today.

Have we seen the best, on public lands very possibly, on private lands maybe not. My observation has been on public lands since that is where 95% of my hunting is done.

But like yourself Roy and many others there seems to be the same observations and feedback on number of turkeys and vocalizations.


Earl

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Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:44 am
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King of Spring

Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:40 am
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Post Re: Have we seen the best of it already? Turkeys decline wi
We are still recovering from EHD up here with the deer. We lost 50% of the deer herd several years back. Still hurting up this way. I know where I hunt in WV they just got hit by EHD this year. Many saying deer numbers are down.

As before, Turkey's run into similar types of things, numbers up, numbers down. Hopefully they won't go too low. Where I hunt in northern WV there weren't even turkey's there when I was a kid. Now there are pretty good hunting populations. The birds determine where they want to be and that is driven by their nature and the environment they want to live in. I am disappointed that I am not seeing birds in the big mountains, but I think the birds move into farm lands because that better fits their needs. If the numbers keep increasing in the farm lands some birds will start heading back to the mountains.

Guess we'll just have to see what is in God's plan. I am sure it will balance out.

V

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Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:43 am
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