Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

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Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby Fan Club » May 11th, 2008, 5:11 am

Just hunted 7 days in Schuyler county. The hunting was absolutely lousy. I got the only bird out of four veteran hunters with over 100 years of combined turkey hunting experience.
 
I have hunted this area since 1994 and estimate that there are only 33% or less of the birds that there used to be. I have hunted a pasture on our lease for 7 seasons where I literally saw dozens of birds each day feeding and strutting. This year I saw one hen in 7 days. On the highest ridge of the property, I can see 15 hay fields and pastures with binoculars. On a sunny day, at 9:00 a.m., following an all night rain, I saw nothing. Nothing! There should have been dozens of turkeys in the fields drying off. Unbelievable.
 
The Missouri DNR has stated that there were poor hatches the last 3 years running. I have no reason to doubt this. My local friend told me turkey numbers were way down and for the last two years he wasn't seeing any young turkeys, only adults. In a 7 day hunt on 450 acres, I only saw 2 jakes!
 
My resident friend, also an avid trapper, hunter and outdoorsman, also says predation is way up. Bobcats have moved into the area in the last 3 to 4 years. He has seen cat tracks in the snow going up a tree without tracks coming back down. A flat spot in the snow a short distance away indicates where the cat landed with a turkey, literally stolen off of the roost.
 
Additionally, my friend and his buddies used to hunt coyotes all winter long. The poor economy and high fuel prices forced them to sell their hounds and pickups a couple years ago, opting for smaller fuel efficient vehicles and ice fishing instead. With several poor hatches and increased predation gobbling up what few poults there are, it seems that it will take years to reverse this situation.
 
Missouri used to be the turkey mecca, but I have my doubts now. The bird population here in Michigan is healthier than ever and the reasons to travel to hunt NE Missouri are rapidly evaporating.
 
I will be most interested to hear reports from other parts of the state to find out if this is a regional crisis.
 
Jeff
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby JPH » May 11th, 2008, 7:38 am

Verry simmilar situation in my area of NW Missouri (Harrison Co.) I have seen a steady decline in numbers for the past 4 years. Like you, we've had bad hatches and bobcats have moved in.
 
The guys in the camp next to my place got skunked. I filled one of my two tags, but the action was sparse.
 
I am trying to stay positive. These things run in cycles.

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby Fan Club » May 11th, 2008, 2:46 pm

Thanks for chiming in, Joe.
 
I'm not happy that turkey numbers are way down, but feel better in some small way knowing that it's not an isolated issue. Like you said, let's remain optimistic and hope it reverses fairly soon.
 
Jeff
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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby JPH » May 11th, 2008, 3:16 pm

I know one thing. I have most often ignored raccoons and opposums, but no more. Any critter that is known to raid nests is fair game on my Mo. property.
 

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby Guest » May 22nd, 2008, 9:31 am

I live and hunt in Souther Missouri seemed like about a normal spring down here, I thought I would post the numbers from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation web site for you all though.
State Wide                                        Schuyler County
Total              43,416                                  302
Adult Gobbler   35,342                                  262
Bearded Hen        679                                     9
Juvenile Gobbler 7,395                                   31

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby rbewilson » May 22nd, 2008, 3:25 pm

The numbers are down in Tenn. too.In 2006 the of turkeys kill was almost 35,000, in 2007 the kill was 29,500, this year the numbers that I seen in the paper Sunday was a little over 26,000 , but I myself hear more gobblers this year. TWRA said that the weather was to blame for the low numbers for last too years.I myself think that there are more hens for the gobblers to chase.

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby JPH » May 23rd, 2008, 10:40 am

ORIGINAL: bbaker

I live and hunt in Souther Missouri seemed like about a normal spring down here, I thought I would post the numbers from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation web site for you all though.
State Wide                                        Schuyler County
Total              43,416                                  302
Adult Gobbler   35,342                                  262
Bearded Hen        679                                     9
Juvenile Gobbler 7,395                                   31

 
Do you know how these numbers compare to average?
 
...I guess I could look it up myself.

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby JPH » May 23rd, 2008, 10:48 am

Here are the totals from Harrison Co. from the MDC site-
 
2004 = 642
2005 = 600
2006 = 501
2007 = 485
2008 = 483
 
:(

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby Guest » May 24th, 2008, 6:05 am

I hunt mostly Douglas county  and some in Texas,Howell and Ozark counties. I think we had some bad hatches in 2004 and 2005 the numbers are not conclusive to me though.
 
County         Douglas          Texas      Howell       Ozark
2008            558                801          592          410
2007            531                790          548          460
2006            515                946          605          408
2005                                1011
2004                                 944
1997                                 600

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RE: Bird numbers WAY down in NE Missouri !

Postby gutpiler » May 24th, 2008, 4:16 pm

I would like to personally thank you boys in Missouri for loaning us some birds in the 70's, their are birds every where now in Wisconsin.

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