Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Discuss turkey hunting's "second season" here
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Ben Sobieck
 
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Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby Ben Sobieck » September 8th, 2010, 5:53 am

Some states allow hunters to take either sex during the fall turkey season. These regulations are not without controversy. Some believe this lowers turkey populations overall. Others say the data isn't there to support that claim.

In this video from Kentucky Afield, a wildlife official says killing fall hens does not lower population numbers in the long-term. Click here to watch the video.

What do you think?

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Turkeybuster
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby Turkeybuster » September 8th, 2010, 7:22 am

Ben here in Pa. we have been taking hens in the fall forever and the turkey population has increased every year. Extensive surveys by our bioligists have led to this conclusion however some areas of the state where turkeys have recently been transfered to under the trap and transfer program remain closed to fall hunting.
After the flocks build into sufficient huntable numbers these areas will also be open to fall hunting. With the possibility of severe winters in this area which could cause a sizeable winter kill the birds have flourished. Turkey populations are closely monitored and season lenths in the fall are set accordingly. Some areas have a two week season and others three weeks with some areas closed.
I am of the opinion taking hens in the fall season will not affect the turkey population.
Jon
Turkeybuster

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allaboutshooting
 
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Location: Southern Illinois, U.S.A.

RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby allaboutshooting » September 8th, 2010, 1:37 pm

Hey Ben,

Everything that I've read and from every conversation that I've had with turkey biologists says that under normal conditions, fall hunting and killing hens does not harm the overall population.

Having said that, I don't routinely kill hens in the fall. They are just very small birds. A jake or gobbler puts a lot more meat on the table.

I'm looking forward to the season here this year. The hatch was excellent and survival of poults was very good.

It's just a great time to hunt turkeys.

Thanks,
Clark
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."

fallhnt
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby fallhnt » September 8th, 2010, 3:17 pm

Fall is my favorite time to hunt turkey.I would move if we didn't have a fall season.I also run the same "route" in the fall as I do in spring but I add a hunt in MO.So I hunt NE.,KS.,MO. and IL.I see lots of birds even in n.e. MO. and the springs have been wet there the past couple years.You can't "stock pile" wild game of any type.Too,there is always X number of birds that die anyway.Hunter numbers are low for the fall turkey hunt and biologist keep the harvest in check.I say,game on!

Duke0002
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby Duke0002 » September 8th, 2010, 6:08 pm

I think the key phrase used by the host is "plenty of birds."   The question is:  "Are there 'plenty of birds' in your hunting area?"     If birds in your hunting area are nearing carrying capacity, then biologically speaking harvesting hens wouldn't effect the population. 

Without positively identifying your particular hunting area as having "plenty of birds,"  how would you know whether taking a hen would harm the population?    Painting with the broad brush of a statewide population is too general, in my opinion.  

In addition to person preference, the turkey hunter must decide for him/herself if their hunting area can handle the harvest of hens.

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rsmithpa
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby rsmithpa » September 9th, 2010, 7:13 am

ORIGINAL: Turkeybuster

Ben here in Pa. we have been taking hens in the fall forever and the turkey population has increased every year. Extensive surveys by our bioligists have led to this conclusion however some areas of the state where turkeys have recently been transfered to under the trap and transfer program remain closed to fall hunting.
After the flocks build into sufficient huntable numbers these areas will also be open to fall hunting. With the possibility of severe winters in this area which could cause a sizeable winter kill the birds have flourished. Turkey populations are closely monitored and season lengths in the fall are set accordingly. Some areas have a two week season and others three weeks with some areas closed.
I am of the opinion taking hens in the fall season will not affect the turkey population.
Jon

 
I agree with Jon on this one.  I am from PA and the number of birds in most area's has increased over the years.
Full Fans, Longbeards, and Sharp Spurs

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grizzly
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby grizzly » September 9th, 2010, 10:16 am

i have no problem with taking a hen in the fall if the numbers are there for it [:D] wayne

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby Cut N Run » September 9th, 2010, 3:21 pm

Hens used to be legal game in some counties of N.C. in the "Fall" season (actually in winter). That limited season was ended, though I'm not sure what the reasoning was. Even though I went Fall turkey hunting a few times I never shot anything. The hen numbers are definitely higher than they used to be.

I enjoy hunting Spring gobblers too much. Plus, I wouldn't want to burn one of the two tags I get on an egg layer that doesn't weigh half of what a mature gobbler does.

Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

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dewey
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby dewey » September 11th, 2010, 11:35 am

Here in MN the MN DNR allows hunters to harvest toms or hens in the fall. I think this is a good idea because it keeps the hen to tom ratio more even. Plus here in MN the turkey population has exploded, like I have described in other threads.

Dewey
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

swamptom
 
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RE: Does Killing Hens in the Fall Harm the Overall Population?

Postby swamptom » September 13th, 2010, 11:20 am

I live in SEMO. we have good numbers of turkeys here and each fall I manage to wrap a tag sometimes 2. Most times its not a big gobbler that goes home with me but a hen. I have yet to se its effect on the overall population. Hunting in the fall is different than the spring and we as turkey hunters should not get so hung up on big gobblers. The October scenery is like no other and on a frosty fall morning a hen will warm your back as well as any tom ever will.


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