change in leftover permits

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ticklishtompro
 
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change in leftover permits

Postby ticklishtompro » March 13th, 2014, 2:15 pm

The DNR made a big decision with leftover tags. Here is a link to the article.
http://www.wisconsinoutdoorfun.com/arti ... ter-losses
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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby Gopherlongbeards » March 13th, 2014, 3:35 pm

Going to climb on my soapbox here, you've been warned :D

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.

charlie elk
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby charlie elk » March 13th, 2014, 4:36 pm

Gopher wrote " a precedent that science based management is only practiced when methods and results conform with popular (or influential) opinion."
I agree 100% Gopher.
Ticks me off too. This will not help the turkeys one bit. It's this kind of whiplash management that damages a species rather than helps.
WDNR and NWTF should be ashamed of themselves.
I just posted the entire press release on my blog http://www.charlieelk.com/2014/wisconsi ... educed-25/
Anyone who understand wildlife management will get mental whiplash reading it...
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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putt
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby putt » March 13th, 2014, 8:53 pm

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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ticklishtompro
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby ticklishtompro » March 13th, 2014, 9:00 pm

I agree that this was just a quick flash decision. I think they are worried about ticking off some of the already ticked off hunters because of the deer situation in WI. Just my 2 cents.
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Treerooster
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby Treerooster » March 14th, 2014, 9:30 am

Gopherlongbeards wrote:Going to climb on my soapbox here, you've been warned :D

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.


Next time you decide to get up on a soap box I will shut up and listen.

Nicely done Gopher!!

Well said and articulated. I think you should send this the WDNR. Not to a biologist, but someone in the decision making department. Maybe even Ms Stepp. You really should.

And I agrre this is just a bone to the special interest groups thrown by the WDNR.
Last edited by Treerooster on March 14th, 2014, 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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Treerooster
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby Treerooster » March 14th, 2014, 9:33 am

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?


Without even doing the math I knew that number was too low. Glad you had the exact figures Putt but even if you back into the leftover permits from the new figures you can see 866 is nowhere near the right figure.
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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putt
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby putt » March 14th, 2014, 11:51 am

I sent a note to Scott Walter of the WDNR this morning questioning the numbers. He replied that the numbers were indeed too low, that the 866 was just zone 5. They omitted zone 4's reduction, so you can add another 3600+ to the total.

Very good soapbox logic, Gopher. I agree.

I do wonder about one thing this spring. Most of Wisconsin had a lousy breeding period last spring, the spring was late, cold, & wet. This winter has been brutal in snow cover & extended freezing temperatures. Whatever percentages of turkeys that come out of this winter have to be hurting, especially the young.

So my uneducated guess is that the usual normal effect of any spring predators, whether they be 4-legged or 2-legged, will be multiplied on these weakened turkeys. To what extent I don't know. Nor do I believe that a few thousand fewer permits at the end of the season will have much effect.

My main hope is that this spring turns early & warm, or I fear that we'll be seeing the effect of this recent year's weather on the young turkey population for at least a few years.

charlie elk
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby charlie elk » March 14th, 2014, 1:52 pm

I posted my email correspondence with Scott Walter here-
http://www.charlieelk.com/2014/scott-wa ... reduction/

Otherwise I don't have much more to say about this surprise, it is what it is. Email Scott Walter at Scott.Walter@Wisconsin.gov He needs to hear that rank and file hunters support science based management rather than management by the fickle winds of vocal malcontents. We'll never get rid of special interests. So for now we all have to plan our spring hunts. Good luck getting permits and good hunting.

BTW, I look forward to seeing again and meeting those going to the Talk'n Turkey Expo. http://www.talknturkeyexpo.com/

Vic and I will be talking about - http://www.charlieelk.com/2014/meet-vic ... arlie-elk/
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: change in leftover permits

Postby Gopherlongbeards » March 14th, 2014, 11:36 pm

I read the post of your conversation with Scott on your blog Charlie, pretty much confirms what I suspected. I understand the reasoning behind the decision but I completely disagree with the way it has been handled and implemented.

The primary issue here is that a "vocal group of hunters" do not understand the way harvest (particularly spring harvest of male birds) impacts turkey populations. This is a public outreach and education issue, not a biological issue. Hunters are concerned about the affects of the harsh winter on turkey populations. This is a good thing! WI hunters are passionate and genuinely concerned about the future of their resource. Scott states that WIDNR wants hunters to know that their "concerns are valid, being heard, and that we are willing to not only listen but react to those concerns". This is commendable, as hunter support of what WIDNR is doing is essential to the long term success of turkey management in WI. BUT, and it's a big BUT, IMO a better way to go about this is through hunter education, involvement, and transparency by WIDNR regarding management decisions and the reasoning behind them.

This was an excellent opportunity for WIDNR to involve and educate this "vocal group of hunters" as to why the reduction in spring permits would likely have no impacts on the state's turkey population. Show them the data and explain the reasoning behind the science based management conclusion that a "feel good" reduction in permit levels would not help WI turkey populations. These hunters are obviously passionate about turkeys, and willing to take action on the issue (they brought their concerns to WIDNR). In short they are exactly the type of citizens WIDNR should be keen to gain as supporters of science based management. Show them what management actions are likely to have some real benefits for WI turkeys (habitat restoration for example) and what is being done in these areas. I believe cutting the permits was a mistake, and the justification given by Scott only reinforces my views on this issue. Maybe he is right, and by bending here greater gains can be made down the road. However, I am skeptical this will do anything but reinforce the validity of misinformed viewpoints and encourage future "gut feel" management actions.

Management agencies often struggle trying to get the public to buy into science based management as the conclusions and recommendations of this process are often not intuitive or run counter to traditional practices and the status quo. WIDNR has done themselves no favors with this descision: How can we expect hunters to buy into science based wildlife management when the scientists themselves won't to go to bat for their actions when the biology is as cut and dry as in this case? That is why this situation really irks me. A couple thousands permits are no big deal in the long run, but actions like this undermine the creditability of natural resources management in general.

I'm not criticizing the individuals involved here. Scott appears to be an excellent biologist with a genuine interest in WI turkeys and turkey hunters. His is a difficult, often thankless job that must often be completed with insufficient funding and too little manpower. It's impossible to please everyone, and the people who aren't happy have no qualms letting him hear about it. I agree with Charlie, contact Scott and WIDNR and let them know you are a turkey hunter who supports sound science based wildlife management.

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