Proposed Turkey Change

charlie elk
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Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Proposed Turkey Change

Postby charlie elk » September 14th, 2012, 8:47 am

In this case I do not think anyone was looking for job security or a make work project. Rather the current turkey management plan is very outdated;
land use has drastically changed since 1996 and the maps used to determine permit numbers are from 1996, these are the same maps used for deer management and we all know how that worked out.
There are 40% fewer turkey hunters than 10 years ago. This dramatic drop has been hidden from view because the permits sold are counted not the license sales.
The complication regarding the fall hunt is due to that hunter survey we've discussed; indicating hunters want a statewide 2 bird limit. The managers think they are following thru on hunter desires. Personally I think they are mistaken as the survey was far from scientific. I know some hunters who brag they filled out a dozen of those surveys.
After all the firings and reassignments of the deer managers, all the others are very paranoid and nervous about making recommendations. And who can blame them?

Scott Walter is head and shoulders above his predecessor in knowledge. There will likely be some changes recommended that will spark controversy in some quarters mainly due to the admission turkeys have done well in WI all on their own. Other than the release of turkeys into already good habitat the WDNR accomplishes little else on a day to day basis to increase the population. There is not much they can do as the turkey population has reached its full capacity and now we wait for nature to control the population within carrying capacity.
Human management of game populations has its limits.
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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Re: Proposed Turkey Change

Postby eggshell » September 14th, 2012, 9:16 am

You are right Charlie, nature will take care of establishing a carrying capacity. what hunter harvest can do is keep that check from being a drastic one from over population. After all, wild game is a renewable resource and the surplus is there to use. sound data collection should establish the surplus. A population can be over harvested and under harvested alike.

In my part of Ohio we saw this check and balance work out many years ago.As turkeys were introduced into our areas they exploded and filled the forest. However those dense concentrations were only in small areas and one dense area was often bordered by an area almost void of turkeys. Over the years birds spread and wildlife crews helped this with trap and transplant. while in those original stocking areas densities actually declined. Now for many years there are about the same number of birds in many areas from year to year. The total population numbers will read that the turkey population is at an all time high for our modern management era, but that is due to more complete distribution and not increased densities. Yes, you are also correct that releasing birds is the primary management tool and then it's up to the birds. Some management techniques can be employed to enhance habitats, but they are limited. In a farming area it takes on a different role than timber lands. Turkeys are far more adaptive than the early biologist ever thought and will do quite well in a variety of habitats. There are actually principles at work that indicate harvesting part of a population keeps it healthy and always productive to "fill the gap" so to speak. From what I understand about Wisconsin's population, you have a high population and thus a generous surplus of birds. So to limit that harvest in the fall, especially considering you have winter kill, I think is not the best approach. Also, if your system was built on mid 1990s data, then it needs revamped.

I will also say the fact that all of our habitat has sustaining populations now, it has spread out hunting pressure and increased opportunity. That is a good thing. I don't know but I would venture to say our turkey hunter participation has fell off some to. The fall is virtually void of hunters as deer is the main focus here. Ohio only allows one fall bird, but I think we could allow 2 in may areas. I only wish! When you got one tag you try and make the best of it. I usually hunt a gobbler for the first couple weeks and pass all other birds, I may even pass a gobbler to just stay out hunting. Last year I actually kept count and had 57 birds within 50 yards from mid October to Late November and finally shot a young gobbler thanksgiving day. I just loved messing with the birds and didn't want to end my season. Now since I'm working this year i will probably fill a tag much earlier.
Bust em, Bag em, thank HIm


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