Severe Winter Index

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

Severe Winter Index

Postby charlie elk » January 29th, 2014, 10:00 am

WDNR measures winter; Winter conditions are considered mild if the station accumulates less than 50 points, moderate if between 51 and 80 points, severe if between 81 and100, and very severe if over 100. Many northern stations have already exceeded severe. :( The main concern is the stress on the deer herd. However, turkeys experience the same stresses in some areas the turkeys are worse off than the deer. Because turkey hunting is a fringe activity compared to deer hunting in WI the vast majority of resources go to the deer side of the equation. I don't expect to hear much about winter conditions effects turkeys from the DNR. What does it matter? We can't do anything to help the turkeys now.
Last night I put up a long post on www.charlieelk.com explaining the index and the WDNR manager's take on it and the feeding of wildlife.

Is anyone else been out looking around to see how the turkeys are faring?

In unit 4 I've found evidence of dead turkeys. No way to tell how many because unlike a deer carcass turkey carcasses disappear quickly. All manner of predators and scavengers devour them. (crows, fox, coyote, wolves, cougars, heck even chickadees and nuthatches.) Perhaps a spot of good news is the predator population takes a bigger hit during conditions like this than the prey does. That is nature's way of "speeding up" the prey's recovery.

We could see a lot fewer turkeys come spring. Namely fewer young hens, jakes and the most senior gobs.
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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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 4:26 pm
Location: Reeseville Wisconsin

Re: Severe Winter Index

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 29th, 2014, 6:21 pm

I haven't been out in the woods lately, but around this area we haven't got much for deep snow, yet? I checked around the back yard today after reading this and I only found between 5-3/4 to 7-1/2", and most of it was just fluffy snow. I noticed the other day when I went to town that some of the snowmoble trails were showing bare spots on them, so the snow can't be that deep even in the fields. The birds shouldn't have much trouble finding food. It's been cold, but we haven't gotten much deep snow to make it tough for the birds to scratch through to find food to eat, yet?
WillowRidgeCalls
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charlie elk
 
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Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Severe Winter Index

Postby charlie elk » January 30th, 2014, 2:18 pm

Count yourself lucky, maybe the turkeys will migrate to the East and Southern parts of WI. South of interstate 90 snow accumulations are lite and temps have been a lot more mild.
Today another 8 inches of snow fell here in WC WI. Nearly another foot in NW WI.
Farmers in Wausau are telling me the snow is deep and they are seeing few to no turkeys. They also told me they found a few dead deer that did not look like they had starved. I asked them if the deer could have suffered from corn toxicity/ acidosis, they did not know so I figured a detailed explanation was in order before well meaning folks start supplemental feeding. My post is here along with links to further research and images. http://www.charlieelk.com/2014/warning- ... nsin-deer/
Now I'm wondering if a form of acidosis or other toxicity could affect turkeys? I don't think so but there was no research studies that came up on Google Scholar.

I think it will be prudent to pick up some extra unit 1 OTC tags for this spring.
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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ads1
 
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Joined: February 18th, 2013, 6:11 pm
Location: South Eastern Illinois

Re: Severe Winter Index

Postby ads1 » January 30th, 2014, 4:24 pm

Charlie, That is good advice. Here in Illinois our turkeys have almost unlimited source of corn and soybeans. With corn making 200 bushels/acre there is an abundance of corn(and for that matter soybeans) left in the fields after harvest. If only 1 bushel/acre is left in the field that relates to 80 bushels on 80 acres. Incidentally, there is still some corn in the fields, but not much. Of the 4 turkeys that I harvested this fall, the crop of the turkey was full of corn and soybeans on three of them. The bird I harvested in Wisconsin did not have any corn in its crop.
The major problem with feeding deer when natural foods are scare is that the animal gorges on the corn and either acidosis or enterotoxema occur. If the animal is used to eating corn like here in Illinois, these conditions are not as much of a problem. Deer are ruminants (they have four compartment stomachs) and the high grain levels alter the types of rumen micro-organisms which cause the sickness. The turkey has a simple stomach so acidosis and/or enterotoxema should not be a major problem. I have heard that feeding turkeys in the same spot increase the chance of disease such as Blackhead. Maybe some of our turkey experts can tell us more. But the fact that deer like cattle have a rumen filled with microbes that can be altered with abrupt changes in diet or over eating of high starch diets and this leads to sickness. I don't think this is the case in turkeys, but I could be wrong.
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