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On March 1st we went to Cameron County to trap and band some more hens for the hen mortality study. I thought some of you might enjoy some of the pictures.

Most of us met in St. Marys at 5:30 am to car pool and head into a Cameron County game lands where the net box and blind were already set up at a site that had been baited for over a week. The birds were hitting everyday and on this day we finally had enough help to attempt a capture.

We arrived in the area of the trap and staged most of the vehicles and helpers about a quarter mile for the trap. BigGuy54 and I gathered the gear we needed and jumped in with Cameron County WCO Wayne Hunt and we drove up a gated road to where the net box and blind were already in place. We quickly connected the rockets to the net, added some fresh bait and BigGuy and I climbed into the blind while WCO Hunt took the vehicle back out to the staging area to await word of a capture.

After connecting the blaster to the wires, attached to the rockets, and getting the little heater going in the blind a check of the watch indicated it was about 0630 and just starting to break dawn. Now all there was to do was settle in, wait and hope the turkeys cooperated.

About 0715 I told Big Guy that I was pretty sure I was hearing some soft turkey talk behind us. Pretty soon we could hear turkeys walking and purring directly behind us. A bit later here they come walking past the blind about four or five yards away. I can see that all seven are jakes and not what we are after. They soon went on down over the hill and out of sight so it is back to waiting. I told Big Guy that it might be a good sign that they were all jakes because it probably meant that the jakes had all split out of the flock and when the others came in they might all be hens and jennies.

Finally about 0915 we started hearing what we again thought was soft turkey talk behind us. Sure enough about ten minutes later we could hear birds close behind us and soon they were once again walking right past us. This time though they were hens and headed toward the bait in front of the net box.

As they were walking past I counted 17 and saw beards on three of them. Two I could tell were bearded hens but the one I wasn’t sure if it was a bearded hen or moderately bearded jake. I told Big Guy to go ahead and get a couple pictures while we waited to see if more birds were still coming.





After a few minutes of waiting for more hens to arrive and not seeing or hearing any more I decided to launch the net. It was a good launch and we caught all 17 under the net but as we were scrambling to get the covers out of the box and up to the struggling birds we watch one bird escape from the net and take off. At that point the crews at the staging area started pouring in to help cover birds. We cover them to help settle them down, remove some of the capture stress and to keep them a little warmer until we can get them processed. But, the down side is that usually everyone is too busy for picture taking.

But once we had our assembly line set up and eventually got all of the birds out of the net, waiting their turn to get their leg bands a couple the processors got the time to take a few pictures.



Each turkey gets a band on each leg and then released. Two of the adult hens were also equipped with GPS transmitters so the Biologists will know how far they disperse from the wintering grounds, where they go to nest and also when and where they become a mortality and probably even be able to determine what the cause of mortality was.









Once they have their bands and/or transmitter and all of the data recorded they are released and off they go.



When all of the birds are processed and on their way, the net repacked and equipment loaded up then we finally had time to get a group photo.



I would like to thank all who volunteered their morning to assist in another successful turkey research project.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Do they post this data anywhere? It would be interesting to see the data collected on the GPS devices. Nice work, and report Dick!
 

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eddie spaghetti said:
Do they post this data anywhere? It would be interesting to see the data collected on the GPS devices. Nice work, and report Dick!
The hen mortality study is still on going but once it is completed there will be a final report of the findings on the Game Commission web site. I think there is some data and information on it now if you visit the site and look for turkey research.

The data on turkey locations will be rather general but the Biologist can actually track the transmitter hens on their computer screens about 5 or 6 hours every third day via satellite. The transmitters only come on for 5 or 6 hours and every third day to add to the life of the transmitter battery. If the turkey is in mortality or the transmitter off of the bird it will notify the biologist by reading ambient temperature instead of turkey temperature. Also if it doesn’t move after a specified amount of time it will indicate it is in mortality mode. At that point they will use the telemetry, track in on the transmitter, recover it and investigate for the cause of mortality.

The bands placed on the hens are also reward bands to encourage hunters to report any birds they harvest or citizens to report any birds they find dead of other causes.

It is an interesting study being conducted in cooperation between the Game Commission, National Wild Turkey Federation and Penn State University. A lot of volunteers are also getting a chance to get involved in the trapping and bird handling. It really is a fun project but also one that is going to benefit the future for turkeys and hunters long into the future.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Very enjoyable read, which of these chaps in the photos are you Dick......
OH Oh I know.
Waugh!


Nice job again with the birds Dick. Was this the same area where we struck out a few years ago? Waugh!
 

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Never mind I can see now not even the same county. Duh that was my moment for the week. Waugh!
 

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RonM said:
Very enjoyable read, which of these chaps in the photos are you Dick......
I am wearing the camo bibs and coat, glasses and a gray ball cap.

In the group photo I am fourth from the left.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Nice job Dick, you just can't break old habits huh.
 

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John S said:
Nice job Dick, you just can't break old habits huh.
Thanks John!

Trapping was always one of the fun parts of the job. When I retired that left Doty with the whole county and he claimed he would no longer have the time to trap turkeys.

The NWTF decided they would pay my mileage to trap turkeys. I agreed to volunteer the time as long as they were keeping up with my gasoline expenses.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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R.S.B I have a question about the turkey trapping, about 10 years ago before the start of the spring turkey they trapped my area, rumor had it that they were sending the birds to south dakota and in return south dakota was sending pheasants. is something like this possible?
 

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ackers acres said:
R.S.B I have a question about the turkey trapping, about 10 years ago before the start of the spring turkey they trapped my area, rumor had it that they were sending the birds to south dakota and in return south dakota was sending pheasants. is something like this possible?
It is possible that they would have trapped turkeys and traded them for wild pheasants once upon a time. I know Pennsylvania had in the past provided turkeys to other states though I wouldn’t have expected any would have gone to South Dakota since I don’t think their turkeys are even Eastern wild turkeys as we have here.

I don’t believe any turkeys have been trapped and left the state in a long, long time so I suspect what you heard was probably just a rumor. I know every year there are stories about me trapping turkeys out of areas, while the truth is I have never in my entire career trapped any turkeys that got moved from the trap site.

In the past most of the turkeys that were trapped and moved came from large private or closed to hunting public land tracts, such as State prison grounds, that were closed to hunting yet had large flocks of turkeys. Since my district was made up of primarily public land we never took any of the turkeys from here even while they were transferring turkeys within the state to get new populations started.

There hasn’t even been a trap and transfer of turkeys in state now for a pretty long time since nearly all area of suitable habitat already have good turkey populations.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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R. S. B. said:
ackers acres said:
R.S.B I have a question about the turkey trapping, about 10 years ago before the start of the spring turkey they trapped my area, rumor had it that they were sending the birds to south dakota and in return south dakota was sending pheasants. is something like this possible?
It is possible that they would have trapped turkeys and traded them for wild pheasants once upon a time. I know Pennsylvania had in the past provided turkeys to other states though I wouldn’t have expected any would have gone to South Dakota since I don’t think their turkeys are even Eastern wild turkeys as we have here.

I don’t believe any turkeys have been trapped and left the state in a long, long time so I suspect what you heard was probably just a rumor. I know every year there are stories about me trapping turkeys out of areas, while the truth is I have never in my entire career trapped any turkeys that got moved from the trap site.

In the past most of the turkeys that were trapped and moved came from large private or closed to hunting public land tracts, such as State prison grounds, that were closed to hunting yet had large flocks of turkeys. Since my district was made up of primarily public land we never took any of the turkeys from here even while they were transferring turkeys within the state to get new populations started.

There hasn’t even been a trap and transfer of turkeys in state now for a pretty long time since nearly all area of suitable habitat already have good turkey populations.

Dick Bodenhorn
Dick, A while back they were trapping turkey in exchange for S.Dakoda birds. Trukeys were only trapped for this purpose from urban un-huntable populations. All other trapping was for research and banding.
 
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