The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the past 5 years the bird population has been decreasing and decreasing. Last yr I put in a lot of hours hunting and scouting moving to new locations. I only heard 3 birds before season and only 2 during the season. The sign was no were to be found.

Over the last week with all of the restrictions going on I have been out scouting for sign on game lands. I have been on 4 different game lands in Monroe County spending multiple hours walking new and old areas and no bird sign any where. I know the birds are gobbling in the morning in Luzern county but have not heard a bird in Monroe county yet. This is not a good sign.

I also talked to guys who hunt near Francis Walter dam and they are in the same situation of not hearing any birds or sign for the past two yrs.

I think the Game commission needs to do something like no second tag or even cancel the seasons in this area. 5 to 6 yrs ago I could hear 12 to 20 birds in a 8 mile drive now nothing.

Anybody else seeing this same thing in Monroe county on the mountain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,141 Posts
They were looking at west nile, but I believe that they did not find that to be the problem. Probably just simply the increases in predators, more raptors, coyotes, fisher, and bobcat. The more predators you have the more they eat. Start in the spring with nest raiders that get eggs, then the poults are hunted hard by those small hawks that raid bird feeders, as well as fox and coyotes getting the small poults. Then if they are lucky enough to get to a size where they roost in the trees the owls start on them, and continue to kill even adult birds, at least hens. As for poults the most I have ever heard of being killed by an owl in one night was three poults about the size of pheasants, two with just the heads removed and a third that was eaten on a little bit. I had a few hens nest at my house, and most young, that hatch, never make it past the sharp shin hawks and cooper hawks to get eaten by anything else. But they are surrounded by electric fence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,779 Posts
Over the past 5 years the bird population has been decreasing and decreasing. Last yr I put in a lot of hours hunting and scouting moving to new locations. I only heard 3 birds before season and only 2 during the season. The sign was no were to be found.

Over the last week with all of the restrictions going on I have been out scouting for sign on game lands. I have been on 4 different game lands in Monroe County spending multiple hours walking new and old areas and no bird sign any where. I know the birds are gobbling in the morning in Luzern county but have not heard a bird in Monroe county yet. This is not a good sign.

I also talked to guys who hunt near Francis Walter dam and they are in the same situation of not hearing any birds or sign for the past two yrs.

I think the Game commission needs to do something like no second tag or even cancel the seasons in this area. 5 to 6 yrs ago I could hear 12 to 20 birds in a 8 mile drive now nothing.

Anybody else seeing this same thing in Monroe county on the mountain.
Yep, seeing the same thing in Monroe and Pike. So much so, that I don't hunt there anymore. I have two good turkey killing friends, one hunts the Carbon/Monroe area and the other hunts Pike. Both hunted nearly every day of the season last year and hardly heard or seen a bird and very, very little sign.

Something is up and I'm not convinced it's hunters doing much damage to the population.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,072 Posts
I am just east of you across the Delaware. Numbers are definitely down here also. The large winter flocks started breaking up over the last couple of weeks and birds should start dispersing and arriving in new areas soon. Hopefully some move in by you.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,272 Posts
We are experiencing the same decline trends in this part of the state as well.

Most likely the reason for the decline is from the result of the many consecutive years of wet spring and early summer weather. With the extremely wet weather the hens will frequently lose the majority of their poults from hypothermia.

If that happens one year hunters might notice a slight decline for a year or two but the population quickly recovers. But, we have had about five or six years of back to back wet spring conditions. That results in a compounding decline effect. Simply put the turkeys that should have been nesting a producing the young turkeys the past few years didn't exist because they died of hypothermia within weeks of being hatched.

To recover from a compounding decline we need to have some back to back good reproduction years to get that compounding effect going in our favor.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
15,014 Posts
The population is decent in my part of Pike County.

The gobblers have been real active the last 5 days.

Had 2 of them this morning having a gobbling contest right by the house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,975 Posts
Most likely the reason for the decline is from the result of the many consecutive years of wet spring and early summer weather. With the extremely wet weather the hens will frequently lose the majority of their poults from hypothermia.

If that happens one year hunters might notice a slight decline for a year or two but the population quickly recovers. But, we have had about five or six years of back to back wet spring conditions. That results in a compounding decline effect. Simply put the turkeys that should have been nesting a producing the young turkeys the past few years didn't exist because they died of hypothermia within weeks of being hatched.

To recover from a compounding decline we need to have some back to back good reproduction years to get that compounding effect going in our favor.
Interesting, when I mention the same thing about the grouse populations, it gets dismissed as we have to follow the narrative of WNV being promoted by LW and the game commission. I have never heard bad spring weather mentioned for the decline of the state bird.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,272 Posts
Interesting, when I mention the same thing about the grouse populations, it gets dismissed as we have to follow the narrative of WNV being promoted by LW and the game commission. I have never heard bad spring weather mentioned for the decline of the state bird.
I don't think anyone dismissed the effect of the weather on current grouse populations.

There is no doubt that the same wet springs that have undoubtedly effected turkeys have also effected the grouse populations. But, there is also not question, because it has been scientifically proven, that west nile is also effecting grouse populations. That is probably why grouse populations are in even worse decline than turkey numbers.

But, at this point I wouldn't entirely rule out west nile effecting turkey populations either. So far there is no scientific evidence of it but I don't think we can completely dismiss the possibility just yet either.

There is no doubt though that both grouse and turkey would benefit from a few years with good spring weather conditions. Hopefully we get to see that happening. If it does then perhaps we can better evaluate the difference between poor environmental conditions verse west nile effects.

It simple doesn't have to be one effect or another, it really can be the results of several different effects.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,027 Posts
I USED to hunt in 5c, 5b + 4c I started noticing the decline 10+ yrs ago. I stopped hunting them in 2012. While I'm sure yotes take some I don't think we have that many fishers or bobcats in these parts. I have also noticed a decline in avian predators around here. Nest raiders are still holding strong but not sure if they have that much overall effect. There are also plenty of house cats roaming free - I have no doubt that they could take young chicks.

Given the overall decline of many birds from sparrows on up I tend to believe that West Nile or some other bird "flu" is the main cause. I don't recall too many cold wet springs in this area of the SE for the past several years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I do not feel that the wet springs are the key factor for the no turkeys around. I could drive thru one game lands and hear 12 to 13 birds in a three mile stretch. Then while hunting see 10 to 15 hens in a flock with multiple gobblers. This is with the wet springs in the past. Plus hens will re-nest if they lose their hatch. Here is an excerpt from NWTF

Studies of Eastern wild turkey hen nesting indicate that 30 to 70 percent of adult hens that lost their first clutch of eggs will attempt to re-nest. The re-nesting rate among juvenile Eastern hens varied from 12 to 70 percent. Hens that lose their clutch while they are still laying are more likely to re-nest than hens that have been incubating for a while. In rainy springs, second nests can make a difference in recruitment (the number of young that enter the population), as late-hatch poults might have a higher survival rate.

I also do not think that it has to do with West Nile Virus since I have been seeing multiple Grouse in the woods. More then I have seen in the past five years. I believe there has to be another reason why all the birds have died off. Not sure what it is but why has the Game Commission not restricted the hunting to try and help save the few that are left.

This is not just in the Poconos but all across the country.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,189 Posts
The number of birds are drastically down in my area.
I do think the cold set springs of the past couple years and the deep shows of the 2018 & 2017 winters had a impact.
This winter we had minimal snow pack and with the warm winter and things greening up early this springs hatch should be better in areas still holding birds.
I blame the lower number of birds on the increased amount of coyotes, fox, hawks and eagles in the areas.

Hopefully many hunters unable to be at work will partake in some isolated hunting and put a hurting on the coyote population. Our poults and fawn population would be greatful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 35 whelen

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,272 Posts
I do not feel that the wet springs are the key factor for the no turkeys around. I could drive thru one game lands and hear 12 to 13 birds in a three mile stretch. Then while hunting see 10 to 15 hens in a flock with multiple gobblers. This is with the wet springs in the past. Plus hens will re-nest if they lose their hatch. Here is an excerpt from NWTF

Studies of Eastern wild turkey hen nesting indicate that 30 to 70 percent of adult hens that lost their first clutch of eggs will attempt to re-nest. The re-nesting rate among juvenile Eastern hens varied from 12 to 70 percent. Hens that lose their clutch while they are still laying are more likely to re-nest than hens that have been incubating for a while. In rainy springs, second nests can make a difference in recruitment (the number of young that enter the population), as late-hatch poults might have a higher survival rate.

I also do not think that it has to do with West Nile Virus since I have been seeing multiple Grouse in the woods. More then I have seen in the past five years. I believe there has to be another reason why all the birds have died off. Not sure what it is but why has the Game Commission not restricted the hunting to try and help save the few that are left.

This is not just in the Poconos but all across the country.
A hen turkey that loses her nest will renest, and multiple times trying to bring off a successful clutch. But, a hen that has poults isn't going to start a new clutch of egg unless she has lost all of her poults and that doesn't happen very often. Nor is she likely to renest if she lost her poults later in the spring and we are into the summer.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
I'm sure it's a combination of everything mentioned, with a lot less people trapping,nest predators ( coons and grinners ) can, and do destroy their fair share of nests
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
I did see several large flocks of turkeys in the early muzzleloader season and rifle season in Sullivan and Wyoming counties this year. Saw turkeys in the fields off Rt 487 that are part of Ricketts Glen State Park and the game lands off of Rouse pond Rd in Sullivan County. I also saw turkeys on State Game Lands 57 in Forkston off of Windy Valley Rd. I also saw them on private property along Rt 87. I haven’t hunted turkeys in years and I don’t know if they are still in that area but you my want to look there. I don’t know if that is too far for you to go. Sorry if it is. Good luck for turkey season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
664 Posts
In my area of the poconos right on the border of Luzerne/Carbon I've only heard one gobble in the last 3 years and I've only seen one strutting. We always get a hen and poults at our house and that is nice to see. I don't turkey hunt, but I do walk my leashed dogs around 7 am and we walk a 4 mile loop, so I cover enough ground in the right time to know there aren't many around.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top