Gopherlongbeards wrote:Going to climb on my soapbox here, you've been warned
Sounds like they threw a bone to vocal special interest groups to me. WIDNR states in the article that spring hunts have about 0 influence on flock numbers, so what exactly is the point of this? The impact from hunters "disturbing" hens trying to breed/nest probably has a bigger impact on year class strength than any harvest of male birds in a spring hunt, and hunters will still be in the woods.
No leftover permits in 6 and 7 and 25% fewer permits in 4 and 5 (the article says 1292 fewer permits total statewide), and all of this in the later seasons where success rates are notoriously low anyways. Assuming a very generous 30% success rate in these seasons with leftover permits you're looking at less than 400 male birds spread across 2/3 the state that will not be harvested this spring thanks to the reductions in permit numbers. I'm sorry but I have a very hard time believing that is biologically significant in any way, shape or form.
Localized areas with reduced turkey populations will be self regulating. Hunters can't kill birds that aren't there, so harvest will already be reduced in these areas. If you are genuinely concerned about flock numbers you need to increase survival of hens, which hunting has very little control over. Yes, some hens are taken in the fall, but this has been consistently well below the conservative estimate of maximum "safe" harvest levels (preliminary numbers show fewer than 2200 total hens, both birds of the year and adults, taken statewide in 2013). Habitat, habitat, habitat, and weather conditions drive turkey populations.
If they want to reduce permit levels to minimize possible resource conflicts between hunters I have no problem with that, but I have a serious issue with the way these changes are being portrayed as a triumph of science based decision making. Show me the data that support a reduction of ~1200 late season permits spread across 4 zones to harvest male birds will have a significant positive impact on turkey populations. Saying there is sound biological reasoning behind this is ridiculous. You're implementing a regulation change you admit has little chance of having any significant impact on turkey numbers to appease special interest groups and show them that the DNR and legislature are "doing something". The only likely outcome from these changes are a reduction in hunter opportunity, not a significant reduction in harvest, much less a positive impact on turkey populations.
At face value this probably doesn't mean much, many of those reduced permits wouldn't have been purchased anyways. In the big picture however this sets (heck lets be honest, continues) a precedent that science based management is only practiced when methods and results conform with popular (or influential) opinion. Yes, economic and social factors play a huge role in wildlife management, and are valid reasons to enact all sorts of management decisions; but don't try and mislead people that the biology supports the management decision when it doesn't.
putt wrote:I'm puzzled by the numbers in the WDNR release. Maybe somebody can tell me what I'm missing. The WDNR release says: "The 25 percent reduction in zones 4 and 5 will result in 866 fewer permits being issued".
By my count there were 17,998 leftover permits remaining in Zones 4 & 5. There are now 13,500 remaining, a much larger reduction of 4498 permits (25%). Where did the 866 number come from?
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