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Discussion Starter #3
Yep, they are going to look at whether west nile is effecting turkeys as it is grouse.

Dick Bodenhorn


Yes, I am interested to see the results of this. I know that turkey populations have declined somewhat in PA and it will be interesting to see if this is maybe some of the issue. Was reading something the other day and they said that PGC is leading the research on West nile in grouse.
 

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I will be following this too, as there has been a noticeable decline in the areas I hunt especially the swampy areas.
 

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This is a worthwhile study and I wish them luck, however it might be difficult to come up with 80 un-incubated turkey eggs in April.
The only times I found a turkey nest was when the Hen flushed and I checked it out, course the eggs are being incubated at that time. Maybe if you have hunters searching for a nest they would be easier to find.
 
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so...if they find turkeys are effected just like grouse, whats the game plan ? spray for mosquitoes ?



that would be interfering with mother nature. when i e-mailed the PGC and asked for a tarp or plywood cover on top of the deck to stop the water from dripping on momma bear and the cub that are on the bear den cam. the PGC told me they dont interfere with Nature ?


Antler restrictions and Herd reduction is also interfering with Nature. OK...rant over.


but seriously, what would they do, if they find that Turkeys are as effected as Grouse are ? what have they done for the Grouse ?
 

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Identifying a problem is the first step in finding a cure.
 

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The PGC does have some very dedicated biologists working on the West Nile problem. I’m all for it. Got the information last week from NWTF.
I just hope the disruption of the hens ( by trying to raid a nest) doesn’t have a negative effect.
 

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Left a message for Mary Jo, that I would gladly donate the 80 Eastern eggs for the study. Hate to see hens disrupted form nesting activities period. I'm all for the study though.
 

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I'm all for the study, but I hope it doesn't take as long as the grouse. Grouse had been on a pretty sharp decline in a lot of areas for like 15 years, to the point of being nearly wiped out in some areas and nobody knew (or said) why until recently.
 

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I'm all for the study, but I hope it doesn't take as long as the grouse. Grouse had been on a pretty sharp decline in a lot of areas for like 15 years, to the point of being nearly wiped out in some areas and nobody knew (or said) why until recently.



and what can be done about it ??
 

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Discussion Starter #14
and what can be done about it ??
Probably nothing. However it is important for management purposes to know if WNV is affecting turkeys at all as it could affect the management plan for them. From the description of the study I wouldn't think this study is costing alot of money. I see the NWTF Biologist is on there too, so I would guess that maybe NWTF is providing some of the funding? Don't know if that is true but wouldn't surprise me.
 

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The PGC does have some very dedicated biologists working on the West Nile problem. I’m all for it. Got the information last week from NWTF.
I just hope the disruption of the hens ( by trying to raid a nest) doesn’t have a negative effect.
Removing the eggs from the nests in April or even early May should have no negative effects on the hens or their ability to renest.

When they remove the eggs they will remove all of them the same as any other predator would. That way the hen will simply renest and start over. All that will mean is the eggs will hatch later in the year and perhaps even give the poults a better chance of survival.

If they were only taking some of the eggs from the nest it could have a negative effect because the hen would continue to incubate the remaining eggs and end up with a smaller clutch of eggs to hatch.

This should have no negative effect on the hen's ability to pull off a successful nest or incubating a successful clutch of eggs.

The most important thing is for no citizen to remove any eggs thinking they doing a good thing. That action needs to be well planned and coordinated by the wildlife professionals.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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and what can be done about it ??
That depends on the results of the research. If west nile is effecting turkey populations it could result in a reduction or even an end to fall (hen) turkey harvests or seasons.

The first thing is to do the research and find out what is reality verses speculation. They know turkey numbers have been declining. The question then becomes why?

I suspect west nile is a factor because we have been doing wildlife survey routes since 1998. Both turkeys and grouse are amount the survey species. We noticed both the grouse and turkey sightings declining about the same time and at similar percentages. That suggest, though certainly isn't proof, that they are both being effected by the same thing. How much of that is weather related verses other cause remains to be determined through scientific research.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Wondering...Is this study a "first" for PA ?
 

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Wondering...Is this study a "first" for PA ?
Yes.

They did a similar study on grouse eggs a few years ago.

I think a couple other states have found west nile in their turkeys so that probably helped in the decision to do research on it in Penna.

As usual Penna. is probably leading the way in wildlife management and research.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Removing the eggs from the nests in April or even early May should have no negative effects on the hens or their ability to renest.

When they remove the eggs they will remove all of them the same as any other predator would. That way the hen will simply renest and start over. All that will mean is the eggs will hatch later in the year and perhaps even give the poults a better chance of survival.

If they were only taking some of the eggs from the nest it could have a negative effect because the hen would continue to incubate the remaining eggs and end up with a smaller clutch of eggs to hatch.

This should have no negative effect on the hen's ability to pull off a successful nest or incubating a successful clutch of eggs.

The most important thing is for no citizen to remove any eggs thinking they doing a good thing. That action needs to be well planned and coordinated by the wildlife professionals.

Dick Bodenhorn
That depends on the results of the research. If west nile is effecting turkey populations it could result in a reduction or even an end to fall (hen) turkey harvests or seasons.

The first thing is to do the research and find out what is reality verses speculation. They know turkey numbers have been declining. The question then becomes why?

I suspect west nile is a factor because we have been doing wildlife survey routes since 1998. Both turkeys and grouse are amount the survey species. We noticed both the grouse and turkey sightings declining about the same time and at similar percentages. That suggest, though certainly isn't proof, that they are both being effected by the same thing. How much of that is weather related verses other cause remains to be determined through scientific research.

Dick Bodenhorn
Yes.

They did a similar study on grouse eggs a few years ago.

I think a couple other states have found west nile in their turkeys so that probably helped in the decision to do research on it in Penna.

As usual Penna. is probably leading the way in wildlife management and research.

Dick Bodenhorn

satisfies my curiosity...Thank You RSB
 

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Update, they still need your help finding turkey eggs.

All,
As of April 19 we remain at 0 turkey eggs collected, of the 80 needed.
With the late start of turkey nesting I’m still not too concerned, yet. We’ll now collect eggs from pre-incubated and incubated nests as we have incubators ready in our vehicles. We’ll continue through May until the 80 are collected. Turkey and mushroom hunters – please be on the lookout!!

Please keep a search image of turkey eggs and nesting sites in your head as your in turkey habitat.

Also, incubating hens typically leave their nest in late afternoon to feed/drink. If a solitary hen is seen feeding during afternoon consistently in the same area she likely is incubating nearby. Please relay me the location and I’ll beg a volunteer with a good bird dog to assist in locating the nest.

Please distribute the attached 2-sided flyer to others who might be in the woods/fields this spring.
Mitch and I welcome calls/texts/emails any time of day & day of the week to reach our goal.

With everyone’s help I know we can collect 80 eggs across the state.

Thanks.

Mary Jo Casalena, Wild Turkey Biologist
PA Game Commission, Bureau of Wildlife Management
 
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