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My Dad was pounced by a bobcat about 20 years ago in Tioga Co calling turkeys. He had crawled up to a field edge, was laying on his belly calling to a flock of birds out in the field. After a few soft calls he knew something was behind him. As he slowly turned his head the bobcat pounced, his mesh face mask likely saved his eye.

I started tagging along with my Dad and uncles turkey hunting at a very young age (5-7) in my 20+ springs of turkey hunting I have seen 4 legged predators called in almost every spring. Most frequently gray fox, but maybe 5 coyotes, a bobcat, several bear etc. In my experience it is not happening anymore than it did 15-20 years ago.
In my experience, going back to the mid 60's and coming forward to present day, it has gone from being rare to a very common happening. I wish everyone could experience those first dozen spring gobbler seasons.
 

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Do tell us just what more you think they could or should be doing.

Since the topic of the hen mortality study came up in the discussions last night I am going to post a link to that hen mortality study. Everyone interested should read it.

PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION (pa.gov)

Dick Bodenhorn
IDK, maybe show a little more urgency. If they are doing anything besides WNV studies, it would be nice to see some articles, say in Pa, Outdoor News of exactly what they are doing and what some of their thoughts or maybe conclusions are. Like I always state, I'm not talking about a dip in population, I'm talking about falling off the cliff. I'd just like to see an acknowledgement that we have a problem.
Just to be clear, I'm talking specifically about the Pocono area....(Carbon, Monroe and Pike Counties). Used to be great turkey populations there for as long as I can remember. Now it hard to find a few birds here and there. Talk to the Game Wardens there, they will tell you the same thing.
Also, (closer to home) north western 5C southern 4C. Again, used to be great populations of birds here for 30 years. Now, it's hard to see a bird or two here.

I read everything I can on turkey studies. That study in your link was eight years ago. Maybe something a little more recent.
 

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IDK, maybe show a little more urgency. If they are doing anything besides WNV studies, it would be nice to see some articles, say in Pa, Outdoor News of exactly what they are doing and what some of their thoughts or maybe conclusions are. Like I always state, I'm not talking about a dip in population, I'm talking about falling off the cliff. I'd just like to see an acknowledgement that we have a problem.
Just to be clear, I'm talking specifically about the Pocono area....(Carbon, Monroe and Pike Counties). Used to be great turkey populations there for as long as I can remember. Now it hard to find a few birds here and there. Talk to the Game Wardens there, they will tell you the same thing.
Also, (closer to home) north western 5C southern 4C. Again, used to be great populations of birds here for 30 years. Now, it's hard to see a bird or two here.

I read everything I can on turkey studies. That study in your link was eight years ago. Maybe something a little more recent.
Sent you a PM.
 

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IDK, maybe show a little more urgency. If they are doing anything besides WNV studies, it would be nice to see some articles, say in Pa, Outdoor News of exactly what they are doing and what some of their thoughts or maybe conclusions are. Like I always state, I'm not talking about a dip in population, I'm talking about falling off the cliff. I'd just like to see an acknowledgement that we have a problem.
Just to be clear, I'm talking specifically about the Pocono area....(Carbon, Monroe and Pike Counties). Used to be great turkey populations there for as long as I can remember. Now it hard to find a few birds here and there. Talk to the Game Wardens there, they will tell you the same thing.
Also, (closer to home) north western 5C southern 4C. Again, used to be great populations of birds here for 30 years. Now, it's hard to see a bird or two here.

I read everything I can on turkey studies. That study in your link was eight years ago. Maybe something a little more recent.
The mortality study might have been eight years ago, but that is actually both resent and undoubtedly still pretty much relevant for a mortality research.

The population and poult recruitment monitoring occurs in every WMU across the entire state and every year. They know the weather conditions of the past decade have been a major factor in poor poult survival. They also know that those long runs of back to back poor recruitment years has a compounding affect at long term population decline.

Are there other factors affecting turkey populations? Maybe. They are constantly looking for and doing research on those possibilities. Maybe they could do a better job of letting people know about what they are doing but it also behooves the public to do some research for find out what is being done. People can't expect the Game Commission to come knock on their door to explain what programs are being implements. Nor, can the Game Commission require any media outlet to print the information the has sent them.

I am not sure what more they could or should be doing to correct a population decline that so far appears to be mostly weather related and driven.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Maybe they could do a better job of letting people know about what they are doing but it also behooves the public to do some research for find out what is being done. People can't expect the Game Commission to come knock on their door to explain what programs are being implements.
Hellsbells, we couldnt even get the yearly biologists reports this year at the January meeting. That is completely inexcusable. No other company can get away without doing their jobs.

How can we find out what is being done, and not done if we cant even get a hint from their reports? I've been waiting for since September to get a replay email from LW, it takes 5 months to reply? And many times when someone questions the research, you are quick to point out how we have no idea what we are talking about and quickly follow all the talking points the GC keeps regurgitating. The GC has basically taken the approach of they'll tell us what they want us to know, and the people paying their salaries should just accept what we are being told. I saw a major turn in the agency about 15 years ago and it keeps getting worse, and it all starts with the 8 buffoons sitting at the head table acting like kings while making back door deals amongst themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Hellsbells, we couldnt even get the yearly biologists reports this year at the January meeting. That is completely inexcusable. No other company can get away without doing their jobs.

How can we find out what is being done, and not done if we cant even get a hint from their reports? I've been waiting for since September to get a replay email from LW, it takes 5 months to reply? And many times when someone questions the research, you are quick to point out how we have no idea what we are talking about and quickly follow all the talking points the GC keeps regurgitating. The GC has basically taken the approach of they'll tell us what they want us to know, and the people paying their salaries should just accept what we are being told. I saw a major turn in the agency about 15 years ago and it keeps getting worse, and it all starts with the 8 buffoons sitting at the head table acting like kings while making back door deals amongst themselves.
I believe if they told us what is going on, people would be more mad than by just keeping us in the dark. Hunters should have much more input on game management, because of problems like this. You made a great post.
 

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People can't expect the Game Commission to come knock on their door to explain what programs are being implements.

Dick Bodenhorn
What a arrogant and condescending remark to make about anyone looking for and /or expecting information. That one line probably best exemplifies the problem I have with the PGC.
 

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Hellsbells, we couldnt even get the yearly biologists reports this year at the January meeting. That is completely inexcusable. No other company can get away without doing their jobs.

How can we find out what is being done, and not done if we cant even get a hint from their reports? I've been waiting for since September to get a replay email from LW, it takes 5 months to reply? And many times when someone questions the research, you are quick to point out how we have no idea what we are talking about and quickly follow all the talking points the GC keeps regurgitating. The GC has basically taken the approach of they'll tell us what they want us to know, and the people paying their salaries should just accept what we are being told. I saw a major turn in the agency about 15 years ago and it keeps getting worse, and it all starts with the 8 buffoons sitting at the head table acting like kings while making back door deals amongst themselves.
Maybe if you didn't have have such an attitude and constantly trying to tell the professionals in their field how stupid they are and how much more you know than they do you could get a response from them to your questions.

Frankly I have never seen you ask a question and it certainly appears that you are always just looking to pick a fight.

When I have a question of what they are doing I ask them in a polite and professional way and they tend to answer my questions. I don't always agree with their answer or their view and opinions but that is often just immaterial to their answer of the reason they provided the answer.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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What a arrogant and condescending remark to make about anyone looking for and /or expecting information. That one line probably best exemplifies the problem I have with the PGC.
There you go.

So I know see that you are one of those will take a snippet out of a much longer and more compete explanation then try to use it to make the other person appear to be the one with the wrong attitude.

Below is the entire post yet you decided to take offense at that small snippet I have highlighted in red text, even though it was a very applicable part of the complete answer and problem of getting information to the public.

This was my entire post on the subject.

The mortality study might have been eight years ago, but that is actually both resent and undoubtedly still pretty much relevant for a mortality research.

The population and poult recruitment monitoring occurs in every WMU across the entire state and every year. They know the weather conditions of the past decade have been a major factor in poor poult survival. They also know that those long runs of back to back poor recruitment years has a compounding affect at long term population decline.

Are there other factors affecting turkey populations? Maybe. They are constantly looking for and doing research on those possibilities. Maybe they could do a better job of letting people know about what they are doing but it also behooves the public to do some research for find out what is being done. People can't expect the Game Commission to come knock on their door to explain what programs are being implements. Nor, can the Game Commission require any media outlet to print the information the has been sent them.

I am not sure what more they could or should be doing to correct a population decline that so far appears to be mostly weather related and driven.
Frankly I have little and no respect for people who just use out of text and complete content snippets, then find a reason to be offended by it or try to make the other person's words mean something other than what they REALLY were.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Discussion Starter #130 (Edited)
What about if those snippets are facts, or the main content, can we still use them? Truth on here maddens a lot of people, if that truth does not fall in line with their ideas. Some posts, including mine have a lot of words to get to the point. When some on here dispute what I say they use what is relevant. It is good to see some men stand up for what they believe, none of us are always correct. A little attitude is a sign of confidence sometimes. Some times when you ask a person a question they do not want to answer, they take it personal and think you are picking a fight. What is going on with any game study should not be a secret to our hunters.
 

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There you go.

So I know see that you are one of those will take a snippet out of a much longer and more compete explanation then try to use it to make the other person appear to be the one with the wrong attitude.

Below is the entire post yet you decided to take offense at that small snippet I have highlighted in red text, even though it was a very applicable part of the complete answer and problem of getting information to the public.

This was my entire post on the subject.



Frankly I have little and no respect for people who just use out of text and complete content snippets, then find a reason to be offended by it or try to make the other person's words mean something other than what they REALLY were.

Dick Bodenhorn
Frankly, I get a kick out of people who like to throw in snide remarks, then act like they didn't say them....but that's always been your MO and I normally just overlook it. (BTW, it doesn't offend me)

I've been asking the same question for a while now and you dance all around, post eight year old links, tell me I got to "dig" for info, etc. I'm asking because I can't find ANY info, other than inconclusive WNV studies.

One last time I will ask specifically what I'm looking for:

1) Is the PGC aware that there are (fairly large) areas of this state where our turkey population went from boom to bust in a relatively short period of time (five years)?

2) If they are aware and they do acknowledge that fact, are there any studies ongoing or planned to get to the root cause?

3) If there are ANY studies relating directly to the above, where can I find them?

Now I don't think those questions are hard or taken out of context or are out of line. If you don't know, just say "I don't know" instead of berating folks for asking. We only ask because we care. We're on the SAME side. We care deeply about the wildlife in our state. We want to be part of the solution. For ME personally, I have donated (and continually donate) thousands of dollars towards Wild Turkey research.
Can ya help a brother out????
 

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One last time I will ask specifically what I'm looking for:

1) Is the PGC aware that there are (fairly large) areas of this state where our turkey population went from boom to bust in a relatively short period of time (five years)?
Yes they are very much aware of it. That is why there are proposals before the Board of Commissioners intended to reduce the fall hen turkey harvest. I can't say that I completely agree with some of the current proposals but we will have to wait and see what the final outcome is at the April Commission meeting. In the mean time we ALL have an opportunity to send our comments, suggestions and recommendation to the Board prior to that vote.

2) If they are aware and they do acknowledge that fact, are there any studies ongoing or planned to get to the root cause?
They are constantly looking for any disease or other causes that affect turkey or any other wildlife. That was what the West Nile study they have been and continue to be researching is all about.

They also monitor turkey populations and poult recruitment rates for every WMU every year.

See the page of links I am posting and you will find those sighting reports.

3) If there are ANY studies relating directly to the above, where can I find them?
Here is an entire page of various studies and research the Game Commission has done and continues to do on the wild turkey.

Scroll down the page and you will find enough to keep you busy for the next several days.

Turkey (pa.gov)

Now I don't think those questions are hard or taken out of context or are out of line. If you don't know, just say "I don't know" instead of berating folks for asking. We only ask because we care. We're on the SAME side. We care deeply about the wildlife in our state. We want to be part of the solution. For ME personally, I have donated (and continually donate) thousands of dollars towards Wild Turkey research.
Can ya help a brother out????
I have no problem with people asking questions and I try to answer them when I can. I also understand that it can be difficult to find what you are looking for on the Game Commission web site. I too have a hard time finding various research papers and reports even when I know they exist.

Just like I know there is a current turkey study going on where they are trapping gobblers but I can't find the abstract on the study so I haven't posted a link or even commented on because I don't know enough about to answer the questions someone might have about it.

But, I posted these links before and assumed you had already seen and studied them.

I am also sure that one of the biggest factors to be affecting turkey populations all across the state is the long run of back to back poor spring conditions. There simply isn't anything the Game Commission or anyone else can do to correct for the weather except hope it becomes more favorable toward the future for turkeys.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Turkey (pa.gov)




But, I posted these links before and assumed you had already seen and studied them.

I am also sure that one of the biggest factors to be affecting turkey populations all across the state is the long run of back to back poor spring conditions. There simply isn't anything the Game Commission or anyone else can do to correct for the weather except hope it becomes more favorable toward the future for turkeys.

Dick Bodenhorn
I have read ALL the info you posted, some years ago. I was hoping to find something a little more up to date and a little more specific. I am glad to see the WNV study.....would love to see some conclusions.

One of the areas that I think about when I ask these questions is the Hawk Mountain area, from Hawk Mt. east through Kempton and clear up Kistler Valley. For as long as I have been roaming around there (35+ years), there was a great population of turkeys throughout that whole area. Great, variable habitat that includes the Blue Mountain, Schochary Ridge, Donat's Peak and all the rolling forest and farm fields in the valleys. About five years ago we started to notice a dip in the population, still plenty of birds, but definitely a dip. The next couple of years the population continued to drop but not so much as to be alarming, just concerning. Then there's these last two years where there's barely more than a few birds....they're gone, or next thing to gone. Half of this area has had no fall season for a long time.

To me, that indicates much more than wet springs when an established population just falls off a cliff like that. Other areas with seemingly the same spring weather still have good populations.
I would love to be able to talk with Mary Jo and give my observations and find out if she's even aware of it.
 

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I have read ALL the info you posted, some years ago. I was hoping to find something a little more up to date and a little more specific. I am glad to see the WNV study.....would love to see some conclusions.

One of the areas that I think about when I ask these questions is the Hawk Mountain area, from Hawk Mt. east through Kempton and clear up Kistler Valley. For as long as I have been roaming around there (35+ years), there was a great population of turkeys throughout that whole area. Great, variable habitat that includes the Blue Mountain, Schochary Ridge, Donat's Peak and all the rolling forest and farm fields in the valleys. About five years ago we started to notice a dip in the population, still plenty of birds, but definitely a dip. The next couple of years the population continued to drop but not so much as to be alarming, just concerning. Then there's these last two years where there's barely more than a few birds....they're gone, or next thing to gone. Half of this area has had no fall season for a long time.

To me, that indicates much more than wet springs when an established population just falls off a cliff like that. Other areas with seemingly the same spring weather still have good populations.
I would love to be able to talk with Mary Jo and give my observations and find out if she's even aware of it.
I don't know what WMUs those areas are in but if you look at the links that have the four years of turkey sighting surveys and compare those units across all of the years you can get a pretty good idea how much the turkey populations have declined. Mary Jo is the one who compiles, studies then uses that data for management direction. So, I assure you she is aware.

If you tell me what units you are concerned about I can provide at least the last five years of the sighting survey results.

I will post those results for the state but they do vary from one unit to another.

Year........Gobblers..........hens...........poults.........unknown......Total turkeys seen......poults/hen
2016.........3402...............7073..........16,740.........3636.................30,851....................2.37
2017.........1940...............4704..........10,720.........3064.................20,428....................2.28
2018.........1120...............2462............5,565..........1261................10,408....................2.26
2019.........1225...............3842............9,975..........1812................16,854....................2.60
2020.........2241...............5,771..........12,252.........2175................22,439....................2.12

I also want to point out a few facts and observations concerning the data. First of all it is the combination of all of the 23 WMUs and not representative of the individual WMU across the state. The next thing everyone needs to understand is that the first three years, 2016-2018, the turkey surveys for only the month of August. The last two years, 2019 and 2020, the surveys were over the two months of July and August, so it isn't a perfect comparison across all five years. In my opinion we have to separate the data into two groups, of the first three years then the last two years to have completely valid comparison results.

But, you can see that the turkey sightings for all sex and age classes declined significantly from 2016 to 2017 then declined even more between 2017 and 2018. Mary Jo and all of the other wildlife management professionals are not only very much aware of those declines but concerned about them and looking for the reasons.

Then in 2019 we saw some increase in the turkey sightings. Even though I am sure Mary Jo has the data separated so she can see just the August counts across each unit I don't have it by the individual months and have just the total for both months. How much of that increase from 2018-2019 is from having two months instead of just one of survey results is hard to tell. But, the positive is that from 2019 to 2020 we saw an increase in turkey sightings across all ages and sex. That indicates that we very likely did see an increase in poult survival in 2019. That is also indicated in the poults/hen data in 2019.

The somewhat concerning part of the 2020 data though is that even though the turkey numbers for each group increased for the year the number of poults/hen was down to the lowest of any of the prior years. That could mean even more turkey decline again this year.

But, again I want to remind everyone that the data is different across the various WMU. If anyone want to see a specific WMU or two I can provide that also n this same format. Or they can simply go to the page of links I provided and look it up across each of the survey years.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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I'd like to see the 4E data, RSB.
WMU 4E

Year........Gobblers..........hens...........poults.........unknown......Total turkeys seen......poults/hen
2016.........120.................244..............671..............131...................1166.....................2.75
2017..........73..................204..............530..............128....................935......................2.60
2018..........19...................50................76.................43....................188......................1.52
2019..........10...................66...............143................30....................249......................2.17
2020..........39.................139...............384...............131...................693......................2.76

As you can see WMU 4E saw a significant decline in turkeys, or at least in reported turkey sightings, over the years between 2016 and 2018.

It looks like the unit might be pretty well on the road to recovery now though. Hope for a good spring then it will interesting to check out the unit survey numbers for this year.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Here is an interesting interview if you have the time to listen. It's not Pa., it's with a turkey biologist from the University of Georgia but interesting nonetheless. Turkeys in the south may be different than the ones up here but maybe some of their issues could be ours too. Thanks.
‎The Southern Outdoorsmen Hunting Podcast: TURKEY GPS MOVEMENT STUDIES, Turkey Fact vs Fiction with Dr. Mike Chamberlain on Apple Podcasts
Great Podcast, very informative and every turkey hunter should listen and learn about the breeding activity of gobblers and jakes, why our season is when it is, predation issues, roost locations, hunting tips etc.
 
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