Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Captcurt, Mar 31, 2021.
Sounds like the posters above have been on the ground studying. But the problem is the animals don’t follow calendars. Hunters have to. Animals follow the weather. Our rut in Oklahoma is “supposed” to be in November. I’ve seen bucks chasing in late October. Bass spawn when the water hits 60 degrees, which is usually mid to late April. I’ve seen them on beds in early March. Mother Nature dictates when animals breed.
For the most part I agree. From the OP's post "Yesterday I watched 20 birds with 2 longbeards." it seems the Tom/hen ratio is pretty skewed. Modern season dates/lengths and quotas are always based on populations, and it could very well be that the state wants to make sure all the hens that can be bred, will be bred before Hunters start whacking off the Toms.
Turkeys, like deer respond to length of daylight to breed, weather, while it may influence it, does not determine when it starts. With turkeys, like with other poultry, amount of available protein(greens) stimulates egg laying. Egg laying leads to sitting on the nest and that is later on in the season. What early seasons have is more Toms and less educated/disturbed birds. No different than opening day of deer season. While I enjoy early seasons, I've found my success, once I find an available and responsive Tom, is much higher on the last season. This is because the hens are on the nest, or going to the nest to lay an egg later in the day. Later in the season around here means more foliage. That means you can get a lot closer to a roosting Tom later in the season. Early on, even in pitch darkness, it's hard to get within 300 yards of roosting birds. Same goes for moving on them. What is harder is getting Toms to come to cover once the foliage gets thick. They tend to get to the middle of someplace open and stay there, out of coyote, and shotgun range. Instead of crying in your Wheaties about the seasons, thank the Lord your DNR/F&G has provided you with the opportunity to hunt Turkeys. It's something none of us had a few years ago.
I didn’t cry about about anything or complain about anything. But I don’t really see the point in trying to refute what people are actually seeing on the ground in their states unless you’re Tommy Lee Jones or Will Smith, wear black suites and RayBans, and carry a neuralizer. And if almost half a century (46 years) is “a few years ago”, what’s “a long time ago”?
The 20 birds were on a friends farm. The farm that I usually hunt has 29 jakes in one bunch. Late February I had 13 come by me with 4 longbeards, one had spurs that looked like they were 1 1/4-1 1/2". I had them at 15 yards. Went for a ride on my atv 2 days ago and saw 2 gobblers strutting with no hens in sight at 3:00 P.M. That tells me that the hens went to nest. Last week there were 2 different flocks in the creek bottom fields that I am guessing numbered 15-20 birds each. One of my turkey hunting friends live 40 miles away. He had 24 in his yard with 4 longbeards and 6 jakes. I may not be an educated man but Biologist aren't the only people who can read. According to one study it only takes one breeding to fertilize a clutch of eggs and I am sure that there are plenty of Jakes willing to do the job.
Consider that a hen will lay a number of eggs over a period of up to 2 weeks before she starts to incubate them. Over the course of the breeding season she is bred by many different Toms. If hunters were allowed to come in and start killing the big Toms before they have had enough time to breed, it could lead to a weakening of the genetic traits of the birds. Yes one Tom may be able to cover a huge amount of hens, but is that good for them as a species?
I’m not a biologist either, there are factors we don’t consider that may have major impacts. We don’t know what we don’t know.
^^^....and to this I whole-heartily agree.
^^^.....exactly, and while daylight is what triggers breeding, seasonal variations do affect breeding activity to an extent also. These variations are hard to predict a year in advance, when hunting seasons are generally designed. Early warm weather promotes early greening and greens are what promotes egg laying. Earlier a hen lays her 14 eggs, the earlier she sits and quits going to the Tom. get a late freeze before she starts to sit and she(and most other hens) has to start all over again and this will extend the time Toms are "henned up". If and when 'yotes, raccoons or other predators find the nest and eat the eggs, makes so a hen will have to start over again also. Hens will try two or three times to create a clutch of eggs to sit on before they give up for the year. This is why come fall, you see young of the year that are hard to distinguish from adults and some that are the size of a grouse. It is also why Toms will come to hen calls late in the season after most hens are done with them.
States that have always had Turkeys like Missouri and Arkansas must know what they are doing. They have to be managing their populations properly as well as enforcing their regulations, it's not just luck. While their ideas of management may not completely correspond with the way everyone likes to hunt, they still are giving folks the opportunity. Here in Wisconsin we have 7 seasons including the early youth hunt. The season runs from early April to the first of June. I have helped young hunters take birds on the first day of the first season and have taken gobblers home on the last day of the last season. This is in areas where the Tom have been displaying since mid-March. Early season here can be a hit or miss depending on weather. While the Toms may have been displaying for a month, if the weather has been unseasonable cold and the fields have not been greening up, the hens and young are still flocked up and the Toms are there with them. This is why you see 30 birds in a flock with 5 Toms and 8 jakes. It takes new buds, green grass and active spring bugs to get the flock to split up. One can be two farms away from the huge flock still feeding on winter manure and never see a track on that farm all first season. Come back a month later and there are tracks and dustbowls everywhere and the manure piles are deserted. Early season can be hard here because sometimes you have to deal with snow. Hard to not be seen from a tree crossing a field or even thru the woods in the snow. If the snow is crunchy, there's no way you can get close without being heard. Hard to stay warm for that hour before daylight when it's 18 degrees. Come later on, you have to deal with ticks and not being able to see birds till they are on top of you. Harder to hear with more foliage on the trees/shrubs too. Kinda why I like to hunt both early and late in the two month long season, it's like two different hunts.
The lower the rate of success is, the more tags they can sell.
The more tags they sell, the more people can participate, which may be beneficial compared to extremely low chances of being drawn, and never getting a chance.
Yep, I drove my son north into PA where his company was giving COVID shots. On the way home we detoured because of an accident..., as we drove along a secondary route, I saw not one but two different pairs of Jakes all puffed up and squaring off. The first pair was so close to the road I thought they were some sort of decoys, and I thought "Aren't those a bit early..."..., then as I slowed I saw how they were moving about..."NOPE" that's real turkeys... Well IF they are doing that an hour north of where I live they are likely doing it down where it's warmer, like where I live..., It's still two weeks until Turkey opens here....
OH well..., The People's Republic of Maryland
is an odd place....,
. Last year was similar with my latest strutting gobbler photo getting taken on May 1st and everything else in April. Last year I was unable to get out opening day, May 1st, due to some other commitments and that big gobbler came right by the blind about 10:15 - 10:30 A.M.. I hunted there a few days in the middle of May and heard a few turkeys but saw nothing.
^^ Yea, that...
I haven't seen or heard a turkey around me (also N. AR) in over two weeks. Was looking forward to trying my hand at turkey hunting this year, too as I've never properly been. Of course, AGFC are great at screwing up hunting seasons IMO. They cut our doe-only season down to nearly nothing, then put it later in the year when absolutely no deer were moving. They've whittled down season lengths as well, to the point I'm satisfied that they don't want anyone to actually kill game, just buy licenses and bumble around in the woods. Of course, I've not been a fan of the AGFC since they banned deer hunting with dogs up here and took out our fall turkey season, so I may not be the best one to ask.
He took this tom last year, 4/8/20...while sitting on the same log.
Nice birds! Congrats!
Nice, he's got some spot. I have a great spot the farm I used to hunt, man I wish I could still hunt there.
If they opened the whole state in Feb., it would be perfect.
Thier season doen't open until May 1st.
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