Harvest Down 16%

User avatar
AWTHDA
 
Posts: 43
Joined: March 14th, 2009, 6:24 am

RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » June 21st, 2011, 3:58 am

I remember reading the DNR's studies that said adult turkeys can survive just about any weather, sitting up in the trees for 3 weeks without coming down to eat, nearly frozen and still surviving. If it's not the weather, it must be the modern haybine that's killing more hen turkeys (during 1st crop hay mowing in Wisconsin every spring) than were killed in the worst winter on record (8% in winter 1990-91). I've talked to a lot of farmers about it and it's a common problem, accidentally running them through the machine, because the bird won't get off the nest, especially at the speed the modern equipment is traveling (8mph+). The hens survival tactic when they are laying or setting on eggs, rather than running like the rest of the year, is to sit tight and let the threat pass. Why our wildlife biologists ignore it is puzzling. The only studies done on flushing bars was with chinese pheasants 15 years ago at much slower speeds. They like to say the hens run away and will renest, but there's no proof of that. I don't blame the farmers, they're in the haying business and time is money. And they feed the majority of Wisconsin's turkeys. It's sinful that 1st crop haying operations kill so many hens every year. And it's shameful we haven't conducted a study of the impact of modern haymaking equipment. We could at least give farmers some incentive to clear the area, or a study might find a better solution than an old-fashioned flushing bar. This compares to an angler being fined for taking an extra fish, while the power company's cooling water intake kills millions of fish without so much as a wrist slap (Millions of Great Lakes fish killed in power plant intakes)

User avatar
putt
 
Posts: 76
Joined: February 27th, 2010, 1:51 pm

RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby putt » June 21st, 2011, 6:22 am

ORIGINAL: AWTHDA

 I've talked to a lot of farmers about it and it's a common problem, accidentally running them through the machine, because the bird won't get off the nest


That surprises me.  I didn't know that turkeys nested frequently in hay fields.  I thought that they strongly preferred wooded nesting areas.  I'd be interested in hearing how many hunters have found turkey nests in hay fields.  I never have.  Pheasants, yes.

charlie elk
 
Posts: 1087
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby charlie elk » June 21st, 2011, 10:52 am

I'd be interested in hearing how many hunters have found turkey nests in hay fields.

AWTHDA is right on regarding hay field turkey deaths.  Local farmers here tell stories all the time about the turkeys they kill while haying. I too find numerous turkey nests each year in all manner of fields and field edges.
The turkeys killed during haying are not always on nest they could be family groups bugging in the field with poults unable to fly or move fast enough to get out of the way.
This mortality of course does not help the population but it probably did not affect this years harvest decrease.
Most studies of turkeys were done back in the 80s; it is time for some update studies, times have changed.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

User avatar
AWTHDA
 
Posts: 43
Joined: March 14th, 2009, 6:24 am

RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » June 21st, 2011, 1:57 pm

I misquoted on the number of weeks a turkey can survive, here it is: "Winter survival should be good this year," says Scott Hull, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "Wild turkeys in Wisconsin have proven themselves to be tough birds. As long as there is access to ample food and snow depth does not hinder their ability to navigate their surroundings for an extended period of time, wild turkeys can handle nearly any Wisconsin winter." In fact, Hull says, wild turkeys can remain in roosting areas for up to two weeks during especially severe weather and can lose up to 40 percent of their body weight before dying of starvation.
If turkeys had their choice, I believe they prefer nesting in open hay fields rather than in the woods, because they'd rather deal with the crows finding them out in the open than the skunk, coon, red fox, gray fox, opossum, coyote and Great Horned Owl finding them in the woods. We know the turkey population is lower in totally wooded areas and higher in a 50-50 mix of woods and fields, so there are more turkeys nesting in the 50-50 areas than in woods. And of those in the 50-50 areas. even if only half are nesting in the hay fields, that's still a lot of hens to lose to the haybine. I've observed many hens nesting in hay fields. It just makes so much more sense that they can more easily out-maneuver a predator in a field than in the woods. I see them often in pairs or threes, they have a tag team going with any predator, while one is setting the other one or two are decoys. Crows will occasionally find the nest and fly away with the eggs, then drop them so they would break and they can eat them. I've seen them do this 4 times with the same egg and it didn't break because although the crow is smart enough to steal the egg, he's not smart enough to drop it where it will break. Most of the time it drops in a soft hayfield. But regardless, the hen would abandon the egg anyway. I'm looking for the DNR data on where they nest, but most of it was studies from 1988-94, about 20 years ago. Since then the number of permits and birds killed increased about 10 times. Here's a nice graphic showing that, compliments of jsonline.com if it works:


Image
Image

Image

Image

User avatar
AWTHDA
 
Posts: 43
Joined: March 14th, 2009, 6:24 am

RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » June 21st, 2011, 3:21 pm

Here's some excerpts from the study (funded by turkey stamp funds) that answers many of our questions!
...recent work has suggested that a 50/50 mix of mast-producing woodlands and open lands provides the most ideal turkey habitat.
...an understanding of how different landscapes influence hen survival and nesting success in Wisconsin.
...project focused on 4 townships in the Driftless region of southwest and west-central Wisconsin, each with varying degrees of forest cover.
...in open townships, turkey hen survival rate was 75%, whereas the survival rate in more heavily forested townships was only 44%.
Read the whole thing at www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/hunt/turkey/update.pdf
I wonder what the cut hay field acreage was, in the varying degrees of forest cover study area? And how many hens with radio transmitters went through a haybine?

yankee gobbler
 
Posts: 9
Joined: June 10th, 2011, 10:10 am

RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby yankee gobbler » June 23rd, 2011, 6:41 am

[quote]ORIGINAL: joeturkey

HEY CHARLIE;
YES THE WEATHER REALLY SUCKED, BUT I THINK MOST HUNTERS STILL
HUNTED AS MUCH AS ALWAYS, I KNOW I DID[:)]. PLUS IT SEEMS MORE YOUNGER HUNTERS ARE POPPING UP EACH YEAR.
I DO THINK THE 2010 NESTING SEASON AND WINTERKILL HAD A BIG IMPACT THIS YEAR[:'(]. IT SEEMED LIKE VERY FEW 2 YEAR OLDS WERE AVAILABLE THIS YEAR, BUT LOTS OF SMART,TOUGH,HARD TO FOOL TOMS
WERE ANSWERING THE CALLS!! GOOD NEWS IS I DID SEE MORE JAKES THIS YEAR THAN THE PAST SEVERAL SEASONS[:)][:)]


In WC Wisconsin and NW Wisconsin, I saw the least amount of birds in years. Most hunters I talked with, and Registrations stations, reported the same. This past winter up here with near 90" of snow and the freezing rain and the extended cold snap early spring had to effect the winter survival of many birds. I did see several dead birds under roost trees this spring.

charlie elk
 
Posts: 1087
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby charlie elk » June 29th, 2011, 9:27 am

Regarding haying killing turkeys; Over the last couple of days I have toured about a thousand acres of freshly cut hay fields and found no dead turkeys not a single feather.  Did find numerous chopped up dead mice, voles and gophers.   Turkey dog Vic accompanied me and if there had been any feathers or other turkey parts he would have noticed. 
Chalk up turkeys being killed by haying as an urban or should I say field legend.

I did not know the WDNR is engaged in a new turkey study, very good news.  This is the type of thing I appreciate my license fees going for.  Hope they expand and continue to do additional research.

 
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

User avatar
AWTHDA
 
Posts: 43
Joined: March 14th, 2009, 6:24 am

RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » June 30th, 2011, 8:02 am

It's no urban or field legend, but first hand knowledge. Every year the neighbor farmers tell me (how they killed them or stopped just in time), or I saw it myself (last time the farmer didn't even see the hen get up and walk around for the next hour or more, looking for it's nest, but I did. The farmer is busy watching where he's going). By the time you and Vic get there, any remnants from running it through the haybine the scavengers could've taken care of, or Vic was interested in other things. If the hay was gone, being baled or chopped, the evidence is in the bale or chopped forage, unless the farmer stopped the machine, went back there with a fork and carried it over to the edge of the field or put it in a bag (not likely).



The next question is, when they green-chop a deer infected with CWD, and it gets fed to the cows, does that contribute to the Mad Cow variant that bovines get? And that in turn is responsible for much of the senility and dementia older people have to some degree (Creutzfeld-Jakob disease). That's why feeding remnants of processed cattle to live cattle was outlawed about 15 years ago. It's all linked.



Without conducting a proper survey (monitors, cameras, witnesses) in substantial prime turkey/haying areas to determine if haying operations are responsible, it's all hearsay. Ride (or walk) along on the haybine next first-crop cutting, or ask the contract forage harvesters what their experience is. If they're candid you'll hear about all sorts of things the machines inadvertently kill. The deer and turkeys they might see, but they never see all the mice, snakes, frogs, insects, songbirds, butterflies etc. Last fall a corn combine even killed a record bear in Wisconsin, so they hit everything.



I wonder how much hay field acreage was included in the 50/50 mix in the hilly Driftless region they're conducting these studies in; if the 1st cutting hay acreage (not pasture or other use) was substantial enough for sampling?

charlie elk
 
Posts: 1087
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby charlie elk » June 30th, 2011, 2:42 pm

I had walked the fields within hours of cutting  the hay still laying there.  Could I have missed a turkey or 2? yes it was a big area for one guy and dog to cover.  Had there been mass turkey kills surely I and /or Vic would have found evidence.  If turkeys were to be cut up there would have been feathers all over which would be around for days.  There are still feathers at some of my spring kill sites.  In conversation with the drivers they saw no turkeys get killed.
Certainly there are occasional turkeys killed during hay cutting I just don't think it is a major mortality factor. 
My mind is still open on the issue, but I am thinking mass turkey deaths caused by farm equipment is more legendary than fact at this point.
Most turkeys should be off their nests by now? 
I am seeing poults flying around now. Well clumsily flying anyway. [:D]
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

User avatar
AWTHDA
 
Posts: 43
Joined: March 14th, 2009, 6:24 am

RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » June 30th, 2011, 6:37 pm

Right, it's pretty late now. About May 15 to June 15 (first cutting) would be when the majority of hens nesting in hay fields that hesitate to leave the nest are in danger.
There never was any legend, this is only the second spring I observed it and brought up the subject.
It'd take a day or two, for one mower to cut a thousand acres, or over 1 1/2 sq. miles of hay. Unless there's no woods around there (hence no turkeys), there ought to be a lot of hens nesting in that big of a prime area?
Just saying, it could be worth studying.

PreviousNext

Return to Wisconsin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests