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I have met the enemy and they are us

Hedgelj

Senior Member
Supporting Member
7,288
178
Mohicanish
There are many discussions in here about deer and turkey numbers and how hunting and hunters impact our success and enjoyment of this sport.

It really hit home for me this year with turkeys.

I have posted elsewhere how the turkey population has dramatically dropped around my property. From seeing flocks of 15-20+ birds during the winter and the hillsides reverberating with gobbles during the spring to seeing a SINGLE been with poults this fall and only 2 gobblers and a single hen this spring. That is while mushroom hunting, shed hunting and driving around the same 1000+ acres and not seeing any turkeys in the fields or heating any gobbles all spring. Last season i had multiple jakes and at least two different Toms in my immediate area.

Other nearby landowners are seeing/hearing the same and none of us decided to hunt locally.

I did see someone that hunts one property over post their success. I saw him a week or so later and asked where the success was had.

"Well i hadn't seen or heard any all spring but i set out anyway because i love to turkey hunt and these two gobblers wandered through and i got one".

I had the two i had seen fairly well patterned and they were roosting a few hundred yards away from the field i saw them in daily in the direction of the property that individual hunts.

Guess what I haven't seen AT ALL since the Facebook success post?

Fellow hunters, it's obvious too many on here that the ODNR doesn't prioritize things in the same way that many of us do. But for the love of God we should be better than this to realize (and the individual was one of the first local hunters to ask me if i had noticed the disappearing turkeys and if we had any pockets of them) the impact of our actions.
 

Hedgelj

Senior Member
Supporting Member
7,288
178
Mohicanish
Not disagreeing completely but why hunt an area that you've already noted is devoid of the usual number of birds?

It's been noted in other threads that hunters cannot manage a resource themselves and that we are inherently "blind" to the preservation of a resource and that's what I'm bringing up.
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
38,872
260
Three issues that I can see.

In the wooded areas. The lack of forest management and the spread of invasive such as autumn olive led to the destruction of habitat. Areas that can be burned should be burned.

Modern farming practices. The overuse of herbicides like roundup destroying hedgerows and edge habitats that produce nesting areas and wild seed production. The willful destruction of habitat through clearing of fence rows, woodblock edges, and ditchlines through ag fields. Once upon a time farmers mostly kept an edge path around fields that grew grass. Today they plant that path to get in a few more rows, then cut overhanging branches and trees back to get more light. They rip out mature fence rows and ditchline trees to get more light to the field over a longer period of the day.

Hunters themselves. Exactly what you mentioned. There could be two turkeys left in the whole county, as long as there is a season bet your ass someone will buy tags and try to kill both of them. Hunters are individuals and by nature can't, or refuse, to see the bigger picture.

The biggest issue is land management. In most of the state there are only three kinds of land in Ohio. Land suitable for building commercial or residential buildings, land for farming, and land everyone regards as wasteland.
 

bowhunter1023

Owner/Operator
Staff member
48,954
274
Appalachia
Not disagreeing completely but why hunt an area that you've already noted is devoid of the usual number of birds?

It's been noted in other threads that hunters cannot manage a resource themselves and that we are inherently "blind" to the preservation of a resource and that's what I'm bringing up.
Because we can. I realize that's not a good answer, but I bet it's a common one. It's not like we have the best track record in America of backing off declining populations of wildlife 😬
 

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
Could you imagine if we had this kind of outlet when the quail and pheasants went away...same thing, different critter. WE, as hunters, suck at habitat. Period, end of conversation. We'd rather clear out a thicket to plant a food plot than create more habitat. Mow 10 acres of yard than to create natural prairie grasses habitat. We suck at more than just killing things off. People like to bitch about how state land is being managed. Look in the mirror folks...we suck at it too. The 2 acre lot with a corn pile isn't helping anything but you. But it sure is f-ng easy, ain't it...
 

Sgt Fury

Sgt. Spellchecker
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giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
The thermal drones are proving that the amount of carnivores on the land isn't what we think.

If the turkey population problem was coons, why are geese not having the same problem? Or are they?
 
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Wiley E Coyote

Active Member
I agree with the predators including crows. There are way too many predators! I've been watching turkey populations go up and down in different areas for 35years. I believe the luck mother nature lays down on your area in the from of cool rain storms is a major factor. Turkeys don't live very long even after becoming adults. If your hunting area has a couple years of wet cold hatches god for bid three years there will be very few birds in your area until it turns around and it will. They will come back on mother nature's time line. I will say this also turkeys move around and change locations a lot more than we realize. You are probably cheating yourself thinking there are not many birds There are still plenty of birds to enjoy a spring morning in the woods.
 

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
They’ll walk away before you get to it. A goose? Not so much….
Either way. If I was to just take the information given on the internet, we would have huge populations of predators. Because they kill thousands of eggs and fawns every spring. What I have seen doesn't support that as the main problem. The changing landscape seems to be the bigger problem.
 
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Wiley E Coyote

Active Member
I just watched a trail cam video the other day of a crow with a turkey egg in its beak.
I know a wildlife biologist from Arkansas and they just finished a five year study on nesting turkeys and crows were hammering the nest. The number one predator on nest by far he said. Bears were #2 in Arkansas then coons but way down the list on numbers compared to crows