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Been hunting game lands in Poconos for last 15 yrs. The past three years are getting worse and worse for birds. I used to hear at least 15 to 20 different birds through out various game lands. This year so far had only heard one bird.

Been scouting since two weeks before youth day to try and find birds for the kids with no luck. Put on 8 miles first day with no sign or gobbles in a location that used to hear multiple birds.

Day two went to different location put on 6 miles with same results. no sign and no gobbling.

Talked to a hunter today at third location and he is seeing same thing with very little sign and no gobbling.

Is anyone else seeing the same results in the Poconos?
I heard west nile virus hit them hard along with the wet springs last yr?
 

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Yep but there still are birds to be had, just not big flocks like several years ago.
I think its a combination of things, the wet spring of this and last season, and the winds. This season we don't have pools of standing water but lakes. I have noticed a increase in raccoons and fox and birds of prey. I also think the full days hunting in the second half of the month and the 2nd tag is catching up to us.

Was only the past 20 some odd years the numbers exploded, and opportunities to harvest them increased along with it.
If this current trend continues the PGC might have to get back into the turkey stocking program:wink2:
 
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I am experiencing the same as you in WMU 3D. Hunted Saturday, Monday and Tuesday without hearing a single gobbler. I covered many miles each day on game lands and hunted top and bottom of mountain. I did come across two hens on Monday. I saw some signs of scratch areas but was very clear it was from last Fall/Winter. One other car in the parking lot on Saturday, none Monday and Tuesday. Debating whether or not to try again this coming weekend same area or drive to a new location I've never hunted before. This seems to be the norm over past 5-6 years in the area I hunt.
 

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I have seen and heard the same thing, Friends hunt in the 3D area and 3 days and not a peep. Also in SE PA, where there are normally atleast a flock, it is also silence. Talking to land owner they said they are arriving late this year.
 

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3C same thing birds are quite and I haven't seen a bird. A friend that hunts an old farm had a nice gobbler hang up about 75 yards out but same thing the bird started to come across a field hung up and never made a sound.
 

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Friends, I don't know the cause, but birds here in Eastern Pa, and particularly NE are on a sharp downward trend. I spent a lot of time the last couple decades in the Poconos and my local "Blue Mountain" and some places have all but dried up with turkeys. You always think, well, they probably haven't broke up yet...… they're not there to break up. I hope the PGC and the NWTF doesn't drag their feet on finding what's happening before they're nearly all gone, like the grouse. I know they're doing a "study" on west Nile, but I'm hoping for a solution.


It's also funny to note that how often I heard "wet spring last year" as a cause of vey few birds this year. I just got back from hunting Ohio and NY and they had the same "wet spring" that we had last year and I saw a phenomenal amount of jakes in both states.
 

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Birds where I hunt are lower in numbers, but I am also seeing more eagles. I believe a turkey in the open fields is an easy target for an eagle. The few turkey that are around my area seem to be avoiding the open fields. At one time a turkey that was out in the middle of an open field was safe from most ground predators, because the turkey could see a predator coming, now with eagles this will not be a safe place. Another thing I noticed is more killed by owls, while the turkeys are roosting. Two years ago we found 5 birds in two different roosting areas, that owls killed, these were adult birds in the winter. Then you have the increase in coyotes, they come running to a turkey call for a reason. And then there are now fishers. When you increase predator numbers, they increase their impact on prey. As for west nile, it also kills hawks, owls, crows , bluejays, and eagles, and all these predators seem do be holding steady or increasing in numbers. It seems odd that if west nile kills so many different species, why is it that the prey birds, like grouse, quail, pheasant, woodcock and turkey are dropping in numbers, and predator birds seem unimpacted. Could be all the predators are having an impact, they have to be eating something.
 

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. As for west nile, it also kills hawks, owls, crows , bluejays, and eagles, and all these predators seem do be holding steady or increasing in numbers. It seems odd that if west nile kills so many different species, why is it that the prey birds, like grouse, quail, pheasant, woodcock and turkey are dropping in numbers, and predator birds seem unimpacted.

I've wondered that very same thing. Good point.
 

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Birds where I hunt are lower in numbers, but I am also seeing more eagles. I believe a turkey in the open fields is an easy target for an eagle. The few turkey that are around my area seem to be avoiding the open fields. At one time a turkey that was out in the middle of an open field was safe from most ground predators, because the turkey could see a predator coming, now with eagles this will not be a safe place.

You're spot on with your observation about eagles. I've already been round and round with some on here about them so no need to rehash it, but if you live in eagle country and see them on a daily basis most would probably have a much different opinion about them. I've personally seen them attack fawns and turkeys. It baffles me why so many predators are state and federally protected when at one time in the not so distant past they had bounties on them. Its created nothing but an unnatural balance.
 

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Recent Game News cited lack of timber cutting and the associated lack of various stages of forest as a LARGE culprit in grouse, and potentially for turkey, too.

I know for me, I have some area-of-operation overlap with fall gobbler, and I'm seeing nothing to contradict his reports.

Where I hunt deer in 5C used to be flush with turkeys. I killed two longbeards there in 2010. I haven't killed a turkey since, and after a few years I gave up on that property and headed north into the mountains in various areas. I have yet to really get into birds. I'm far from an expert, but you'd think in the time and miles I've logged (it's a LOT of miles) on various tracts of SF and SGL, I'd eventually stumble into SOMETHING. Nope.

I have a good friend in Maine who offered me to come up and hunt up there with him. I think that's my game plan going forward. I'd like to take another Pennsylvania longbeard at some point, but I want to actually hunt turkeys, too, not just take my 870 for a walk in the mountains. ;)
 

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They push habitat and now westnile as the reasons for declines in grouse, pheasant, now turkey. Thing is domestic fowl have been suffering the same fate, because of increased feathered predator numbers. Look at all the people who need their chickens protected by netting, and how often do you see the free range bantams running loose in yards, fifty years ago this was common. The fowl, domestic or wild has been going down in numbers since raptors were protected. Add to that the increases in fisher, bobcat and coyotes, it does not look good for turkeys. The PA outdoor news copy from April 26, on page 22, shows a golden eagle swooping down on a gobbler in an open field in potter county, I wonder if the turkey was eaten. All these predators have to be eating something.
 

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Turkey population seems to be about normal in my corner of 3C. Remember, a wet spring (like we had last year) is the number one killer of young turkeys. I suspect that is why the population is down a bit. When we had chickens (500+), we'd lose over half of chick population during wet springs.
 

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Been hunting game lands in Poconos for last 15 yrs. The past three years are getting worse and worse for birds. I used to hear at least 15 to 20 different birds through out various game lands. This year so far had only heard one bird.

Been scouting since two weeks before youth day to try and find birds for the kids with no luck. Put on 8 miles first day with no sign or gobbles in a location that used to hear multiple birds.

Day two went to different location put on 6 miles with same results. no sign and no gobbling.

Talked to a hunter today at third location and he is seeing same thing with very little sign and no gobbling.

Is anyone else seeing the same results in the Poconos?
I heard west nile virus hit them hard along with the wet springs last yr?
Live near White Haven. Lots of birds here. I consider this the Poconos as all the Southeast comes up here and are in town every weekend. Have 3 big lone toms in my back yard as we speak. plenty of birds up here. Or should I say hey man there are no birds up here the west nile got them all lol. West Nile is not a factor. Wet springs up here is.
 

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I hunt in 3D ad ave a lot of birds in our area. I got a Jake and a 8" beard gobbler this season but in our area, we've been seeing a staggering increase in the coyote population witch in turn puts a damper on the gobblers sounding off on the roost especially once they fly down.
 

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I have lived and hunted the poconos my whole life and the turkey population has been on a steady decline now for the last 8 to 10 years! I am a avid Turkey hunter that lives eats and breathes it!!!! I hunt both private and state land in the poconos and I am literally losing sleep cause I feel like a sport and bird I'm so passionate about is disappearing from poconos and I have no control over it!! All my friends that hunt turkeys and hunters I run into have same story "what happened to the turkeys" Yes there is a few spots that still have decent population
of birds but there usual bordering the big developments were there feed well and barely wander out to huntable areas!! I dont blame it on hunting pressure I blame it on record wet springs during nesting season and with no fur market predator and raptor populations are at an all time high. When I was a kid you would never see eagles or ospreys and now I see them both daily. Yes I know ospreys and eagles are not the cause but just stating example if there numbers are doing great I'm sure other Raptors are not far behind! Last year we had a hen with 7 little ones come to our field daily multiple times a day. By August she had one pullet left and my wife watched a hawk take 2 of them previous to that right out of are field. I haven't fall Turkey hunted in years not because I don't want to I absolutely love it, I just feel that every Turkey is so important to our future anymore I dont want to kill it. Same thing with 2nd spring tag, I would love to get 2 tags but I just feel like I'm hurting myself and future of our turkeys in the poconos! I hope they bounce back soon cause I already see frustration in my son and losing interest in sport when we hunt our buts off and dont even hear a gobble in multiple places were years ago you would here multiple turkeys!!!
 

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I have seen the hawk episode that you speak of, one by one the poults disappear, sometimes though when they get down to one, the hen only has one to watch and the lone poult has a chance. The coopers hawks are real good at getting chicks of all kinds.
 

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I have lived and hunted the poconos my whole life and the turkey population has been on a steady decline now for the last 8 to 10 years! I am a avid Turkey hunter that lives eats and breathes it!!!! I hunt both private and state land in the poconos and I am literally losing sleep cause I feel like a sport and bird I'm so passionate about is disappearing from poconos and I have no control over it!! All my friends that hunt turkeys and hunters I run into have same story "what happened to the turkeys" Yes there is a few spots that still have decent population
of birds but there usual bordering the big developments were there feed well and barely wander out to huntable areas!! I dont blame it on hunting pressure I blame it on record wet springs during nesting season and with no fur market predator and raptor populations are at an all time high. When I was a kid you would never see eagles or ospreys and now I see them both daily. Yes I know ospreys and eagles are not the cause but just stating example if there numbers are doing great I'm sure other Raptors are not far behind! Last year we had a hen with 7 little ones come to our field daily multiple times a day. By August she had one pullet left and my wife watched a hawk take 2 of them previous to that right out of are field. I haven't fall Turkey hunted in years not because I don't want to I absolutely love it, I just feel that every Turkey is so important to our future anymore I dont want to kill it. Same thing with 2nd spring tag, I would love to get 2 tags but I just feel like I'm hurting myself and future of our turkeys in the poconos! I hope they bounce back soon cause I already see frustration in my son and losing interest in sport when we hunt our buts off and dont even hear a gobble in multiple places were years ago you would here multiple turkeys!!!
Its not just the poconos where the turkey population is decreasing. I havent seen a poult in over 2 years and i live in farm country. Your lucky to even see a hen in the open farmland fields anymore. The one field i used to see turkeys daily, had 8 bald eagles feeding on a deer carcass along with a few hawks. I know those eagles nest up at the fields edge. This was in March.
 

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i've been out in the poconos last weekend and we chased gobblign birds from 5:45am till we left the woods at 11:30. Iw as surprised, not a single hunter openign weekend or last weekend and we were deep in turkeys with every set up. We were whooped from hiking up and down and across and around the mountain just didn't get the job done. We've killed one since then tho but up near tunkhannock PA.
 

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Opening weekend was too windy. spotted a flock up a powerline but the younger guys spooked 'em before I arrived with my calls.

While I do not hear many gobbles in 3D; I did have one roosted behind the cabin last Friday.

7:50 pm he gobbled when I closed the truck door and again to the horn when I hit the button...

04:50 standing on the porch listening to him gobble tot he sound of passing cars and trucks hitting the bump out front...

walked just a short way behind camp till i could see a good ways, poked the decoy in the rocks and plopped down by a tree listened to the occasional gobbles for a good 35 minutes.

made just ONE call. The whole woods got as quiet as a church on Sunday night....

frustrating for sure.
 
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