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Discussion Starter #1
When we have totally controlled predators such as raptors, and others like bobcat and others with strong protections, we have declines in prey, grouse, pheasant, turkeys, and anything else they want to eat. As our game numbers drop, nothing gets done to address the real problems. If we really wanted to bring back game numbers, maybe we should open seasons on all predators based on their numbers. This would be a better way to bring back game numbers than the approach that has been going on for the last few years. The protect the predator and blame habitat, disease, weather, solutions are not working, the proof is in the reduction of game, including turkeys. Man has little control of the weather, unless you talk to the liberals, so we will not be able to change that. Habitat, can not be improved over a large amount of the land, due to private ownership and government regulations. Disease, we can not even control the corona virus. However as we have seen in the past predators can be reduced in numbers, to help with game numbers. It worked before, and could work again. What stands in the way are federal and state protections. This backed by many people who will not even realize what the problem is. So what is the solution, a real one would be try the predator control, this would help turkey and all other prey species. Or we can take away hunting opportunities for hunters, like season reductions, bag limit reductions, and even take away rifles. If numbers do not improve, they should have no problem taking away shotguns later on. Ban all the turkey hunting, and let the predators kill the rest. This is where our pheasants went, this is where the grouse are going, along with the turkey. As some may notice our feathered game that roosts at night are the ones most impacted. Could be at night predators find it easy to pick off a bird that will just sit there and get eaten. I also believe that many of our poults are killed when small by hawks. Odd how the habitat is so bad, that the prey animals are going down in numbers, yet the predators seem to have no problem increasing in numbers. Yes the fishers are even doing well and increasing in numbers and range, but then the predator huggers say they do not eat much turkey. And bobcats are plentiful. Time to address the real problems, or neither you or your children are going to be turkey hunting, at least with a rifle.
Here is a link with some facts, not just opinion.
Turkey Killers (nwtf.org)
 

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A lot of hunters complain about not being able to find and kill deer and gobblers. I have no faith that they'll be able to kill a coyote or bobcat. If people would stop shooting hens for a few years, I imagine that would help.
Well the turkey hunters will go the way of the rabbit and ringneck hunters !!!

I’ve said for years....I wonder why we can’t have to many bobcats, foxes coyotes, hawks,eagles, owls and fishers.

I did see a good many turkeys this past fall but nothing like the flocks of 40-60 + of the 80’s 90’s.

I also see as many fox,coyotes, fishers and bobcats on my cams as anything else!
The limits should come off all of those!!! You will never eradicate them now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
On one post on the turkey forum, another poster said that deer do not have any natural predators anymore. I believe it was post 31 in the end of rifles for turkey hunting thread. I do not agree with that and think that many of todays hunters do not realize the affects of predation. There is a saying that prey controls predator numbers. So for those people, when all the prey is gone, so will most of the predators. Predators can wipe out an area of prey and then just move to another area, some raptors migrate over a thousand miles to ensure their survival. Since when should man sit back and let the predators control the prey numbers. What about hunters, who pay for a license, and help pay for wild life management. Our protect the predator game management, may be good for predators, just not good for hunters and prey. And this is not just about turkeys, look at small game and anything else that the predators prey on. Go back to say 1970, and now, the big difference is the amount of different predators and their abundance. Bobcats, coyotes, fisher, hawks, owls and others use to be much lower in numbers, or not seen at all. And then you have all the nest raiders. The difference is predators increased in numbers while prey has gone down. That kind of goes against the prey controls predator numbers theory, to some degree.
 

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When we have totally controlled predators such as raptors, and others like bobcat and others with strong protections, we have declines in prey, grouse, pheasant, turkeys, and anything else they want to eat. As our game numbers drop, nothing gets done to address the real problems. If we really wanted to bring back game numbers, maybe we should open seasons on all predators based on their numbers. This would be a better way to bring back game numbers than the approach that has been going on for the last few years. The protect the predator and blame habitat, disease, weather, solutions are not working, the proof is in the reduction of game, including turkeys. Man has little control of the weather, unless you talk to the liberals, so we will not be able to change that. Habitat, can not be improved over a large amount of the land, due to private ownership and government regulations. Disease, we can not even control the corona virus. However as we have seen in the past predators can be reduced in numbers, to help with game numbers. It worked before, and could work again. What stands in the way are federal and state protections. This backed by many people who will not even realize what the problem is. So what is the solution, a real one would be try the predator control, this would help turkey and all other prey species. Or we can take away hunting opportunities for hunters, like season reductions, bag limit reductions, and even take away rifles. If numbers do not improve, they should have no problem taking away shotguns later on. Ban all the turkey hunting, and let the predators kill the rest. This is where our pheasants went, this is where the grouse are going, along with the turkey. As some may notice our feathered game that roosts at night are the ones most impacted. Could be at night predators find it easy to pick off a bird that will just sit there and get eaten. I also believe that many of our poults are killed when small by hawks. Odd how the habitat is so bad, that the prey animals are going down in numbers, yet the predators seem to have no problem increasing in numbers. Yes the fishers are even doing well and increasing in numbers and range, but then the predator huggers say they do not eat much turkey. And bobcats are plentiful. Time to address the real problems, or neither you or your children are going to be turkey hunting, at least with a rifle.
Here is a link with some facts, not just opinion.
Turkey Killers (nwtf.org)
I am completely convinced that you haven't the slightest understanding of just how the predator/prey relationships of wildlife species and populations really work. But, we have been pointing that out for a long time now.

Thanks for including the link though.

But, I guess you missed this part of what was said in that link though. I quote the link with this copy and paste.

What can we learn from these results? As most turkey hunters know, predator control helps bolster turkey populations. But some species—like nest-robbing raccoons—are very hard to eradicate. Others, like hawks and owls, are protected. The key to the success of these birds, then, primarily hinges on habitat. High-quality nesting habitat and readily available roosting and feeding sites minimize exposure to predators and increase the odds that your birds will survive.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I do not believe that any of our predators need wiped out just controlled. Years back people tried to wipe out most predators, as they found out that is hard to do. Except for large predators like wolves and mountain lion it would be hard to wipe any of the predators out. Look at raptors, at one time man tried to kill them all, never worked. I t took DDT to greatly reduce the numbers of some. When the raptors became protected it was basically a blanket protection, not based on numbers. A political action, not based on sound game management. Same thing happened with wolves out west, a political action. I am not for the extinction of anything, excepts maybe ticks, and maybe a few primates, that are capable of spreading disease to man that could wipe us out. Disease worse than covid. Even with that, much is mans fault, in that respect, as with Aids, man should leave them primates alone, and we would not have some of these diseases.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am completely convinced that you haven't the slightest understanding of just how the predator/prey relationships of wildlife species and populations really work. But, we have been pointing that out for a long time now.

Thanks for including the link though.

But, I guess you missed this part of what was said in that link though. I quote the link with this copy and paste.
My point is we have been trying the improve the habitat approach, for the last forty years or more. If you look at game numbers you can see it is not working. Like the quote also says predator control bolsters turkey populations. As the quote says owls and hawks are protected and this is why they say it hinges on habitat. As you said before some raptors should be controlled, I believe you said certain hawks and owls. As for not understanding how predator \prey relationship works, the proof is in the past history, especially the last forty years since many predators have been totally protected. What you are suggesting of how it works, has been tried and has resulted in where we are today. For Gods sake we are losing the battle with our huntable prey numbers. I see it and many others do, I understand pheasants are gone, grouse almost there and turkeys moving in that direction also. I understand I will probably never have a chance to hunt turkey with a rifle in PA. I realize if I want to kill a coyote, bobcat, fisher , otter, or other furred predator or if I want to see, or take pictures of raptors, I have a good chance in todays world. Habit improvement is a last resort because proper predator control is not being done. I base my thoughts on real life experience.
 

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My point is we have been trying the improve the habitat approach, for the last forty years or more. If you look at game numbers you can see it is not working. Like your quote also says predator control bolsters turkey populations. As the quote says owls and hawks are protected and this is why they say it hinges on habitat. As you said before some raptors should be controlled, I believe you said certain hawks and owls. As for not understanding how predator \prey relationship works, the proof is in the past history, especially the last forty years since many predators have been totally protected. What you are suggesting of how it works, has been tried and has resulted in where we are today. For Gods sake we are losing the battle with our huntable prey numbers. I see it and many others do, I understand pheasants are gone, grouse almost there and turkeys moving in that direction also. I understand I will probably never have a chance to hunt turkey with a rifle in PA. I realize if I want to kill a coyote, bobcat, fisher , otter, or other furred predator or if I want to see, or take pictures of raptors, I have a good chance in todays world. Habit improvement is a last resort because proper predator control is not being done. I base my thoughts on real life experience.
Over the past 20+ years,I've tried to gain a much better understanding of how the habitat impacts game,especially deer and turkeys.I study it year round and while I don't claim to be an expert,it makes more sense every year..A lot of that information came from R.S.B,much of which I took as nonsense in the beginning.As time went on,I kept an open mind and now I look at every differently.It's impacted the way I scout,where I hunt and how I hunt.Over the past 9 years,I've tried beating it all into my son's head.It's actually made hunting almost too easy.I see way more deer today than I used to and to be completely honest,I see way more today than I did through the 80's and 90's.We have plenty of predators of every type and as long as the habitat is there,I don't see any game populations decreasing.In fact,I saw so many deer this year on public land it was ridiculous.As far as turkeys go,I don't see more than I used to but there isn't a shortage.What I've seen is several cold wet springs.This past spring,most of the hens I saw had no pouts and I'm willing to bet that was do to the cold wet spring.I did see three hens with multiple poults of different sizes in my fields all summer.I watched them from june until the fall and didn't see any of them disappear.Again,we have plenty of predators.What we didn't have locally was a second cutting of hay and that contributes to less mortality.
 

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As you said before some raptors should be controlled, I believe you said certain hawks and owls.
You got it wrong. I didn't say they should be controlled I said I would be supportive of the limited harvesting of great-horned owls and red tail hawks if the killing of ALL other hawks and owls shot in mistake for one of those two brought serious penalties.

The fact is if they allowed for people, including hunters, to shoot great-horned owls and red tail hawks they would be killing anything with wings.

Unless man learns how to control various weather, wet spring and even summer, conditions many ground nesting bird species will experience populations fluctuations that have absolutely nothing to due with excessive predation. Unless man learns how to control other environmental factors that result in various disease issues, such as West Nile, and a host of others that might not even be fully understood or even recognized yet, many wildlife populations will shrink even if all predation were removed from the equation or concern.

The fact is predation is a natural factor that benefits the long term and best health and future for the prey species as well as the predators.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Click on the link and read what the study says are the turkey killers. And as usual they say improve habitat because raptors are protected and coon s are hard to control. No where have I seen a study that says the habitat is killing the turkey. The only reason they push the habitat theory, is because raptors and other predators have great protections. Before they had these great protections, they preached kill as many predators as possible. It seemed to work well back then. Sometimes good predator control, makes habitat suitable. And so far no habitat has been able to increase prey numbers over a large area for an extended time, due to predation. If the new way of thinking that habitat is the total answer, then why has forty years of this practice not worked. As I have said before the only reason they push the habitat is because predator control is not allowed, usually when the federal government gets involve into some the results are not good. Instead of trying predator control, lets just take rifles away from turkey hunters, hate to see a rifle hunter take away a meal from some bobcat, hawk ,owl or coyote or fisher.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Since we have a few hunters on this site, how many actually think that habitat is the reason our turkeys are declining?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
You got it wrong. I didn't say they should be controlled I said I would be supportive of the limited harvesting of great-horned owls and red tail hawks if the killing of ALL other hawks and owls shot in mistake for one of those two brought serious penalties.

The fact is if they allowed for people, including hunters, to shoot great-horned owls and red tail hawks they would be killing anything with wings.

Unless man learns how to control various weather, wet spring and even summer, conditions many ground nesting bird species will experience populations fluctuations that have absolutely nothing to due with excessive predation. Unless man learns how to control other environmental factors that result in various disease issues, such as West Nile, and a host of others that might not even be fully understood or even recognized yet, many wildlife populations will shrink even if all predation were removed from the equation or concern.

The fact is predation is a natural factor that benefits the long term and best health and future for the prey species as well as the predators.

Dick Bodenhorn
As for shooting anything with wings, we have a season on ducks, geese, pheasant, grouse, crow, and other birds, and we have not had this problem, with killing everything with wings. Just a fact So you think that it would be alright to kill great horned owls, but if some one shoots something else by mistake they should get a big fine, 5000 dollars. And permanent loss of hunting privileges. Suonds harsh. Then why not have a huge fine when there are other mistake kills. Just odd why we would again put some predators ahead of others.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Weather can have an influence, but turkeys can renest, if eggs do not hatch. And weather unlike predators can not be controlled. Take a cold wet spring and add to it uncontrolled predation, and that just makes things worse.
 

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I hear you brother! Something has to change.
So many hawks and owls, and other Raptors they need controlled too. You r right about the numbers of Bobcats and fishers on the rise. Each species adds to the depletion of the prey species.
There are good numbers of fishers in my area...
re-introduced to battle porcupines,
these critters are nasty like little Wolverines
and they climb trees,
I bet they snatch turkeys from the roost easily...
 

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Can anyone explain why there are any turkeys or grouse or prey species of any kind at all in the United States when for tens of thousands of years before man came to the western hemisphere there were no controls on predators?
Darn good question

maybe - because
back then

man the pig,
man the fool
did not interfere with Ma Nature by trying to "manage" wild animal populations like today's "Experts" do.
 
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