Harvest Down 16%

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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » July 12th, 2011, 5:54 am

Why there is such disbelief or resistance to the lethality of haybines is a mystery (Thanks cat35, but it's not to balers, they aren't used until later in the haying process). Maybe it's because only 2 or 3% of the population is involved in agriculture today. Since I don't get to sit in on those meetings, I will put my two cents in here. At the risk of 'beating a dead horse', here it is all together.
While the weather and the general predator populations routinely fluctuate, there are several new considerations regarding turkey survival not presently being (comprehensively) included in any study.
#1 is the additional predators that weren't an issue to the turkey because there weren't any, or their populations were so small they weren't a factor. And these are successful, efficient predators: the Bald Eagle, Wolf, Fisher and Marten. Their populations have grown ~10 times or more in the last ~10 years (somebody have the numbers?).
While the turkey has always been and still is preyed on by fluctuating populations of coon, crow, skunk, weasel, possum, bobcat, coyote, hawk, owl, deer, turtles...
#2 is the loss of habitat to megafarms that remove the fence rows and small woodlots to the detriment of a lot more than the wild turkey. And convert every little piece of tillable land to grow corn for ethanol, or other crops needed to feed the cows, because the small farm is going the way of the dodo bird. There just aren't enough young farmers willing to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week for nearly nothing, so these megafarms are our future.
#3 is the addition of more, bigger and faster hay processing equipment every year.
#4 the Dutch study of birds preening oils and the bird's confidence in remaining undetected, together with no natural fear of machinery explains why they are susceptible to sudden death. Haybines are as much an unnatural predator, as any of the other natural predators are. We just don't know how much they're responsible for, or what could realistically be done about it.
This armchair biologist speculates we need to fund some authentic Wildlife Biologists to conduct the comprehensive research with our turkey stamp dollars, or some other source.


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mark hay
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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby mark hay » July 16th, 2011, 3:26 am

This is some very interesting reading Gents .
 I have not seen a poult yet , here in southern Ohio .
 My neighbor runs several hundred acres of hay each year . He tells me about the fawns and turkeys his machine kills . Not just the young but sometimes the hen too .
 Of the farmers I'm personaly aquainted with , none are in favor or either deer or turkeys being on their property. They see turkeys scratching up the seed and the deer eating the tops off the beans and view this as robbery . Some areas hold an uncommon number of deer . A creek bottom field of beans , 1 mile from my home , appeared to be kept mowed like a yard . Not just the edges of the field but the entire field . At harvest time there wasn't a a bean plant over 10 inches tall .
 What was mentioned earlier about the device mounted to the mower or tractor to flush game ahead of the machine is  great idea .
 I am also surprised by the moving of turkey nests and having the hens not forsake the nest . AMAZING !
 It amazing too that some hens will get into the dense cover of weeds , hay and such , whereas some will simply squat right in the open in the woods . I see the point made about the density of the thick grass and weeds helping to prevent predators from easily getting through it . Yet it also makes the hens job of getting away and returning to the nest just as difficult . And , when the eggs hatch it would appear to me that many of the young poults would be lost/die in the thick grass simply because of their inability to manuever through it .
 Yet the hens that nest in the woods have thier disadvantages too . Being in the darkness and shade of the timber where predators will be more likely to hunt during daylight hours as well as night .
 I suppose there is a sensitive balance in this . But the hayworking equipment is another factor .
 I've been at this turkey hunting game since '98 . I pay attention to detail . At the least it APPEARS to me that turkey numbers have declined . I base this soley on my observations , both audibly and visually .

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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby cat35 » July 16th, 2011, 7:04 pm

Why there is such disbelief or resistance to the lethality of haybines is a mystery (Thanks cat35, but it's not to balers, they aren't used until later in the haying process).

This armchair biologist speculates we need to fund some authentic Wildlife Biologists to conduct the comprehensive research with our turkey stamp dollars, or some other source.

Sorry, but the article was titled "Balers", so that is the verbage I used. I never said that farm machinery isn't killing turkeys, just not enough IMO to warrant tax payer dollars being spent on research. Now if you would like to go through the lengthy process of filling out a Turkey Stamp application, and go through the hurdles that come with that, feel free. The next application period is March of 2013. I doubt that taxpayers are going to be happy seeing their money being used by the DNR for something like this, and with the recession taking it's toll, organizations like ours don't have funding for these types of issues.

I saw no difference in overall numbers, but did notice a difference in activity this spring. There is no way to accurately count turkeys, and no plans to try and develop one. The weather certainly played a huge factor in this springs success rates, as was demonstrated in every Great Lakes state around us.

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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » July 17th, 2011, 12:19 pm

Thanks for the replies. My interest in this begins with what this Amish farmer pulling a haybine with horses tells me, how he and his neighbors and relatives have trampled a lot of nests and eggs and often stopped just in time, or he would've killed many hens - they just lay there, acting like they're perfectly concealed, with no fear of a haybine, 4 horses or him. His haybine is pulled with horses at about 3 or 4 miles per hour, versus the 6 or 8 mph tractors pull them. Now lest you think it's because the hens aren't afraid of horses, or the little noise they make, his haybine has a 25 Horse Wisconsin engine running wide open powering the haybine, so it's as noisy as any tractor operating a haybine with a power takeoff. Plus he's yelling commands at the horses. Now the other ('english') farmers are the ones who tell me the same thing several of you confirmed, that they run turkeys through the haybines and that's just the way it is. Some of that might be exaggeration, but without studying enough commercial forage operators in prime nesting habitat at the right time, it's just hearsay. But I do know these Amish farmers to be the most Christian people you will find and they would not stretch the truth one bit about something like this.

There are several problems with the flushing bars:
1. Finding the money to pay farmers to use them. There are many farmers who like wildlife as much as us, but they have to make a living and using the device is cumbersome. It takes extra time they don't have. If we could raise the funds to pay farmers to use them in the most critical fields would we save a lot of broods? Without a study to determine their effectiveness, it'd be a waste of time and money for everyone. Maybe by doing a study we would find alternatives.
2. The only flushing bars ever made were variations of chains (some with bells) hanging off the front of a steel bar mounted off the side of the tractor or in front of the haybine. But that was in the 80's and 90's when they were smaller and went slower than they do today. And today some models can switch operating left or right, so how would the flushing bar switch? They're not going to be any more effective in getting a hen to leave the nest unless they're mounted about 25' in front of the machine and dangling heavy noisy chains about every 8" that would be prone to ruining the crop. Who's going to drive around with something like that getting tangled up in the fences and trees when they get close to the edge of the field? How many guys and how much time would it take to mount and dismount it? And does it even work at 8mph? What a mess if it comes loose and gets caught in the intake!

Without a complete study to determine how many hens nest in the fields versus the woods, we're just speculating. Maybe this has been studied before? Otherwise we can add this to the desired four part study mentioned earlier.

On May 16th I watched a hen (with a spotting scope from the second floor) go from walking across a hayfield, to a crouch lower and lower each step. Within 5 steps she totally hid herself in only 5" of grass (leg height) at a distance of 330 yards. Anyone ever see a bird do that? I believe she did that because she had started laying eggs in the shallow grass and didn't want the person walking on the road to know where her eggs were. To me, that's more proof of how hens would rather hide than run, once they start nesting (like the Dutch study says). And why they're so susceptible to haybines. Once they have eggs in their nest, they change from running at the slightest provocation to sitting tight. The closer her eggs get to hatching, the less she is inclined to be spooked by a predator, and for sure not by a haybine.

I propose some UW masters degree program researchers, WI-DNR biologists, or both conduct the studies using the turkey stamp funds (collected from every turkey hunter), to pay their expenses (not by the taxpayers). Or, since Ducks Unlimited funded the flushing bar studies, maybe the WI-NWTF would fund this one? Such a study might help us discover how to implant the fear of haybines in the wild turkeys DNA, so we won't have to wait a few thousand years for that to happen naturally.


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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby AWTHDA » July 26th, 2011, 3:18 pm

Plus, there's the cougars! This one walked about 1700 miles from Champlin, MN through WI, MI, Canada and NY state to Milford, CN. How many turkeys do you think he ate along the way? And then, after making it that far, the big cat gets killed by another mechanized predator.
BREAKING NEWS: The 140 lb. male, originally from South Dakota may have set a record for one of the longest journeys by a land mammal!
Click here for the WISCONSIN-DNR Mountain Lion details and for the State of CONNECTICUT COUGAR story click here.

charlie elk
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RE: Harvest Down 16%

Postby charlie elk » July 31st, 2011, 9:01 am

may have set a record for one of the longest journeys by a land mammal!

That we know about anyway.  This is an amazing story of travel.  Let us hope all the cougars in WI are just traveling through.
This particular cougar was very close to my area and no one including me wanted him around. Perhaps that is why he left.  Cougars are an invasive species to WI and should be treated like any other invasive. 
Soon our legislature will approve the CC package and part of it makes shooting cougars doing damage or causing one to fear for their life legal.
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

flushing bar project
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Re: Harvest Down 16%

Postby flushing bar project » January 3rd, 2012, 3:44 pm

Several of you expressed interest in flushing bars in your replys to this post. I am running a project for 2012 to try out some of these tools on fast modern mowers in 2012. You can track progress at the web site
I hope to be able to accept contributions at this site later this month.
Mark P. Ludwig
> Allegan Conservation District
> Conservation Innovation Grant Technician
> Balancing Agricultural Production and Grassland Bird Reproduction
> 269-673-8965 ex 4
> 616-240-7135 cell
> mark.ludwig@macd.org
> The Flushing Bar Project - Designing Wildlife Protection for 21st Century
> Forage Mowers


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