Harvest Down 16%

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putt
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby putt » July 1st, 2011, 4:07 am

There's a letter & response on this "turkey nesting in hayfields" subject in the new July/August NWTF "Turkey Country" magazine.  Page 110, titled "Chain Reaction".

I'd post a link, but I haven't been able to find an online version of the correspondence yet.

charlie elk
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby charlie elk » July 1st, 2011, 7:04 am

There never was any legend,

Perhaps legend is the wrong word.  I was not referring to you making a legend, rather the farmers around here who profess to hate turkeys and they claim they kill many during haying.  So this year I went out during and after the haying operations in order to see for myself.  Now I think those particular farmers are more blow than turkey killers. Thankfully.

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.

The first cut here is always done last week of June and 1st week July. The thousand acres is in prime turkey country broken up with wooded ravines and ridge tops.
Agreed more study is a great idea and I hope our license fees go to more good studies.

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?

According to one of the landowners who had some of the study turkeys released on his land told me that was one the criteria.

This is a great conversation hope it inspires other hunters to out and check some fields and report what they find here.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

charlie elk
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby charlie elk » July 1st, 2011, 7:09 am

There's a letter & response on this "turkey nesting in hayfields" subject in the new July/August NWTF "Turkey Country" magazine. Page 110, titled "Chain Reaction".

Is this one Putt? http://www.turkeycountrymagazine.org/Me ... board.html

BTW, did you enjoy your unit 1 hunt?
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: Harvest Down 15%

Postby putt » July 1st, 2011, 11:04 am

ORIGINAL: charlie elk

Is this one Putt? http://www.turkeycountrymagazine.org/MembersOnly/soundingboard.html

BTW, did you enjoy your unit 1 hunt?


Yup, that's the article.  I find it a bit hard to believe that many farmers will invest the time & gas & manpower to use the suggested "chaining" procedure prior to harvesting their hay.
 
As far as your question on how my first Unit 1 hunt went, I loved the area.  I'd likely be posting photos & bragging if I'd gotten turkeys, so I should man up when I get skunked.  This is the first year in the last six that I didn't get at least one tom.  A year like this one makes me wonder if I ever knew how to hunt turkeys in the past, or if they just happened to walk past me in spite of my calling.
 
In SW Wisconsin (near Gays Mills), 4th period, I twice saw strutters with hens in big fields ~ 2-3 shotguns away.  They were content with the hens they had.  Closest call was a gobbler that I never got to see over a ridge ...  got him within ~75 yards, but never did see him.  He responded for ~30 minutes before leaving.  The woods ridges were incredibly bare of foliage for that time of spring ...  I (& the gobblers) could see a long, long ways up & down those ridges.  Much, much ridge climbing for me.  My bum ankle wouldn't have lasted another day.  Got pretty lucky with the weather that period.  As a guy living in suburban Green Bay, I envy your living in that beautiful turkey rich area.  Not just for the hunting season, but for the ability to easily get out & observe them year round. 
 
Last two periods in my home zone 2 I only hunted for a few days each period due to other family things going on, but I hunted hard on those days.  Weather (wind/rain/hail/fog) was a factor as it always is, but I got enough decent weather.  Saw a lot of hens & I let quite a few jakes live for another season.  I may not have been so generous if one of those jakes had shown up in the last hours of the last hunt day.  Very rarely got a tom to answer calls, & never did call one close enough.  Those toms that I was able to spot at a distance were in areas I couldn't go, & they had no interest in my calls.  Had at least three cases where I would've/should've had a shot except for bad decisions, or I prefer to think bad luck.
 
Now my wife is even suggesting that I change our incoming email notice to something different from the loud tom gobble.

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AWTHDA
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » July 1st, 2011, 11:08 am

I didn't get the magazine yet, but I did read the link, thanks. But that's not right. No bird will stay where their nest stands out like a sore thumb in a small patch of grass. They'd have to leave 10 acres uncut. Every predator in the area would see her coming and going and she knows it. Same goes for 'chaining it' and marking them with flags. Why not use red flags to make it easier for the predators to find it?

No farmer is going to waste time driving over their good hay, pushing it down, making it harder to pick up, just so some birds survive. They have hay to make and it's gonna rain or a hundred other more pressing problems than some game birds. Which they don't get anything out of, except having to feed them.

I still say, based on my observations, a hen that has been laying for 2 weeks and setting for almost 4 weeks is very reluctant to leave the nest, even when death is imminent.

Yes, there are flushing bars that have been used, mostly in the Canadian provinces, since the 80's and 90's, but they gave farmers incentives (cash) for their time and they were doing it for ducks. If they do them in the US it might be for ducks in ND or some of the prairie nesting states (ask Ducks Unltd). The studies were also applied to CHINESE pheasants. Not hardly a native wild bird that acts anywhere near like a wild turkey hen.

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AWTHDA
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » July 2nd, 2011, 9:28 am

There's an article in the July 1, 2011 WI Outdoor News p. 23 An Oily Subject by Bob Zink, about how a study done in the Netherlands, of the different preening oils or waxes birds use during nesting time make it very difficult for mammalian predators to smell nesting birds. This would be something to include in a study of nesting turkeys and may be another reason they are reluctant to leave the nest - they have confidence in their ability to remain undetected by a predator.
He also said how nesting birds will skulk away from the nest quietly (both directions, coming and going), because a sudden flash (as when being flushed by a tractor or flushing bar) would reveal the location to area predators which would help them find it.
Turkey hens have no fear of tractors or haybines, so why would they leave their nest for them?
Bob reminds us that deer will eat eggs and young birds, so the coons, coyotes, foxes, cats, possums and dogs are not the only olfactory predators a turkey hen has to worry about. They will naturally feed a lot of members of the food chain, but haybines aren't natural.

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joeturkey
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby joeturkey » July 3rd, 2011, 10:06 pm

HEY GUYS; VERY INTERESTING READING ON THE HAYING PRACTICES,THANKS FOR THE INFO. I THINK THE CHANGES IN FARMING PRACTICES THAT CHARLIE ORIGINALLY MENTIONED IN THE 1ST POST WILL HAVE A MUCH BIGGER IMPACT ON FUTURE HARVESTS. EVERY YEAR IT SEEMS IN MY AREA THERE IS LESS HAY BEING PLANTED, LESS DAIRY OPERATIONS AND MORE CASH CROPS BEING PLANTED. WITH THE HIGH PRICE OF CORN AND SOYBEANS BEING PAID LESS ALFALFA IS PLANTED EACH YEAR. NOW YOU COMBINE THAT WITH THE GOVERNMENT WORRYING ABOUT THE BUDGET, AND ELIMINATING CRP PAYMENTS FOR FARMERS AND YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM FOR NESTING TURKEYS!!!![:o]. THEN THROW IN A OVERABUNDANCE OF COYOTES AND RACOONS, WHICH WE HAVE. IT'S REALLY STARTING TO IMPACT TURKEY NUMBERS AND I'M AFRAID IT'S GOING TO BE THAT WAY FOR SOME TIME. HOPE THE DNR CAN COME UP WITH SOME SOLUTIONS TO REVERSE THE TREND[:)]  GOOD LUCK AND GOOD HUNTING  JOE
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AWTHDA
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » July 6th, 2011, 5:17 pm

Turkeys are having a harder time the last few years for many reasons.
The family farms become mega farms, they clear out the fence rows and small woods for more cropland and run the largest and fastest equipment.
Plus today so many of the turkey's predators are doing far better. The eagle, wolf, fisher and marten population is soaring (besides the coon, crow, skunk, weasel, possum, bobcat, hawk, owl, deer). Then there's the un-natural haybine.


Today I walked less than 50 yards out in a pea field the amish neighbor had cut with his horses and haybine an hour earlier and I found a weasel laying dead in between the swaths. Apparently the little ermine was too low for the sickle bar as there were no cuts on it. There was no evidence it was stepped on by the horses or run over with one of the tires, just more collateral damage. It did have a nasty wood tick attached to the side of it's neck, but I'm sure that didn't do him in. The ermine or stoat, or short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea) is an interesting little animal. He was probably after all the mice in the field. If a fast little thing like him got killed I wonder what else got it?


The widest rotary haybine (16') going 8mph can cut 124 acres in a 10 hour day.

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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby gobblerchaser » July 7th, 2011, 6:13 am

I have hunted West Central Wisconsin the last two years and noticed numbers lower this spring as well. The guys I've hunted with that are local residents also say numbers are down. I was wondering if anyone thought that due to a later spring that there was less cover in the woods and therefore more hens nesting in the hay fields? Just a thought.....

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AWTHDA
 
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RE: Harvest Down 15%

Postby AWTHDA » July 7th, 2011, 1:42 pm

Welcome gobblerchaser.

I guess the cover would be less in the field too, so that wouldn't affect their choice of hayfield versus woodland. What every hen wants is their own 20 acres or more, and by some mutual understanding, they spread out in the spring and lay claim to at least that much mix of wood and crop land for themselves. They may prefer nesting in hay fields over woodland because they can skulk in and out without as many eyes or noses observing them. Hayfields are generally much harder to look through, than the undercover in the woods is. And there's no markers or trails for the predator to follow either, assuming the hen comes and goes by a different way each time.

Wisconsin's first crop of hay is cut May 15 to June 15.

Hens lay 4/28 to 5/12, set from 5/12 to 5/25 and poults hatch 6/9 to 6/22.
After 6/22 we generally don't have to worry about haying operations destroying the hens/poults/nests.

A DNR biologist said he was hoping the delayed spring phenology would delay hay cutting and help, but the hens may have started nesting a little later too and that most likely negated any advantage.

I'm seeing a lot of adults with no poults so far. Saw about 20 beardless birds in 2 flocks in northern Oconto County today with no young around. This might be a year of a lot of late hatches statewide.

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