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Old 02-02-2021, 06:12 PM   #1
jlptexashunter
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Have y'all noticed a serious decline in turkey population over the last few years. I didn't see one bird this fall/winter. Saw a bunch of hens last spring. I used to see BIG groups of gobblers and now nothing.

Was thinking of emailing the biologist assigned to Wise County.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:14 PM   #2
jnd1959
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We've had a decline in turkey numbers across the board in most States. This is unpopular, but I think we're going to have to change the timing of the spring season on gobblers. Maybe start later. Some of it is the natural result of stocking in the last three decades. Numbers will drop from that high level. But some of it is taking the mature birds at the height of breeding season. Been listening to some podcasts lately on this very subject.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jnd1959 View Post
We've had a decline in turkey numbers across the board in most States. This is unpopular, but I think we're going to have to change the timing of the spring season on gobblers. Maybe start later. Some of it is the natural result of stocking in the last three decades. Numbers will drop from that high level. But some of it is taking the mature birds at the height of breeding season. Been listening to some podcasts lately on this very subject.
I've read that once the dominant tom is taken off of the landscape, the jakes don't just fill in the gap. They start the pecking order disputes all over again and a dominant tom isn't realized until after the breeding season is over.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:57 PM   #4
Bowtech2004
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Pigs tear up nests, KAP!!
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:46 PM   #5
jnd1959
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I've read that once the dominant tom is taken off of the landscape, the jakes don't just fill in the gap. They start the pecking order disputes all over again and a dominant tom isn't realized until after the breeding season is over.
This is what I understand as well. You explained it better than I could have.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:54 PM   #6
Froggy
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Originally Posted by jlptexashunter View Post
Have y'all noticed a serious decline in turkey population over the last few years. I didn't see one bird this fall/winter. Saw a bunch of hens last spring. I used to see BIG groups of gobblers and now nothing.

Was thinking of emailing the biologist assigned to Wise County.
Saw the local biologist post a few days ago on a deer hunting FB page that numbers a way down. We've noticed it on our lease near the LBJ the last couple of years. Only saw a few on game cameras all of deer season. We are usually covered up with birds.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:59 PM   #7
rolylane6
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Saw the local biologist post a few days ago on a deer hunting FB page that numbers a way down. We've noticed it on our lease near the LBJ the last couple of years. Only saw a few on game cameras all of deer season. We are usually covered up with birds.
Same here. We border the grasslands and usually have a lot of birds on camera throughout the year. I had pics of a group of 6 Tom's 3 weeks ago at a feeder and that's the only ones we've seen since last spring.

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Old 02-10-2021, 01:28 PM   #8
eradicator
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stop building houses up there.
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Old 02-10-2021, 01:37 PM   #9
rolylane6
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stop building houses up there.
That won't happen. Everyone is fleeing the craziness of the city!

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Old 02-17-2021, 05:42 PM   #10
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Lot of hunters in the lbj. Think if everyone kills a bird that will put a dent in the population.I still hunt the grasslands grew up in alvord and have killed birds on the lbj. But like y’all say it ain’t how it used to be.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:09 PM   #11
Texas Grown
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Yall should have been there back in the '80s on opening day when rifles were legal.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:27 PM   #12
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Saw a flock of 10ish out dove hunting this year. Havenít hunted there much, but unit I was on I saw more turkey and hogs than doves.


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Old 02-18-2021, 07:29 PM   #13
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That won't happen. Everyone is fleeing the craziness of the city!

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Unfortunately they are bringing their ďcityĒ ideals out here.....


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Old 02-28-2021, 12:23 PM   #14
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Bird populations and where turkeys were one year they may not be the next.

Thatís the fun part about it, but pressure does weird things to them. Kind of like how you can have birds located like crazy the week before youth season then not hear a peep til May.

Go where others wonít!
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Old 03-16-2021, 03:38 PM   #15
tiberiuswade
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Hi all
Grateful that many of you are concerned about turkeys being scarce in certain areas. 1st I'm with Texas State board NWTF. All turkeys responds to lost of Habitat and pressure as well as predators. With that being said, yes hogs do a lot damage to nesting birds once found. We have been stocking birds throughout Texas (even with Covid-19), latest release was last Tues up near Lufkin. We ha e done a lot Habitat improvement up LBJ and had release as well. Jason Hardin IS the only Texas Biologist, other Biologist you may have spoken with are related to turkeys ( yes they are Biologist, but in other areas). They will Not have all Important information regarding our turkeys and what we [NWTF/TPWD] doing for the birds. I know it may seems like there aren't many birds, but they may not be near or on your hunting lease lands. Sam Houston NF has birds, Angelina NF has 'em, LBJ has them. Get involved to help the flock....shoot a yote, hog when given a chance
NWTF Texas State board
NWTF =National Wild Turkey Federation we are here for you and future generations

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Old 03-17-2021, 10:11 AM   #16
.243 WSSM
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Originally Posted by tiberiuswade View Post
Hi all
Grateful that many of you are concerned about turkeys being scarce in certain areas. 1st I'm with Texas State board NWTF. All turkeys responds to lost of Habitat and pressure as well as predators. With that being said, yes hogs do a lot damage to nesting birds once found. We have been stocking birds throughout Texas (even with Covid-19), latest release was last Tues up near Lufkin. We ha e done a lot Habitat improvement up LBJ and had release as well. Jason Hardin IS the only Texas Biologist, other Biologist you may have spoken with are related to turkeys ( yes they are Biologist, but in other areas). They will Not have all Important information regarding our turkeys and what we [NWTF/TPWD] doing for the birds. I know it may seems like there aren't many birds, but they may not be near or on your hunting lease lands. Sam Houston NF has birds, Angelina NF has 'em, LBJ has them. Get involved to help the flock....shoot a yote, hog when given a chance
NWTF Texas State board
NWTF =National Wild Turkey Federation we are here for you and future generations

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Thank you tiberiuswade for the info, good to know. So they released turkeys at lbj? Is this part of a study or what? If not, why are they releasing birds? If the population has dropped that much I am surprised they haven't shut the season down at lbj. The most important habitat tool is prescribed burning. Cant get any updates on if/when they will be doing any spring burns out there. Without them the population will continue to plummet. Thanks for the info
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by .243 WSSM View Post
Thank you tiberiuswade for the info, good to know. So they released turkeys at lbj? Is this part of a study or what? If not, why are they releasing birds? If the population has dropped that much I am surprised they haven't shut the season down at lbj. The most important habitat tool is prescribed burning. Cant get any updates on if/when they will be doing any spring burns out there. Without them the population will continue to plummet. Thanks for the info
243wssm
Not a study, but our efforts to put MORE birds back into the area. We have also been doing some habit improvements in area as well. Clear salt cedar, burns and public access improvements. Annie Farrell is our turkey Biologist in that area and she has done some extensive work for habit ( now keep in mind this has alot to do with funding for various projects). We NWTF partners up with TPWD to help with cost of each project. Being on board we allocate funds as TPWD requests, but we are forever hassling with the FEDERAL government to get OUR share back from them.
Most hunters are NOT aware that even though we Texans buy and help pay for our licenses (hunt/fish.. etc). A VERY large portion goes the the federal government NPS. Texas then have to request funding from them to be used in our state (even though that $$$ is rightfully ours). Yeah all states have to. That's why NWTF working with them on funding until the Feds either approves or dis approves funding on various projects. Sorry for long winded, but want hunters to be Aware.
We release birds for future generations to enjoy and have an opportunity to hunt.

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Old 03-20-2021, 12:43 PM   #18
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Having never hunted turkey , Iím wanting to arrow one or two this year . Iím hunting public lands . What would be an area I should be focusing on more than others . Any help would be appreciated
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:47 AM   #19
wildaggie
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Originally Posted by tiberiuswade View Post
Hi all
Grateful that many of you are concerned about turkeys being scarce in certain areas. 1st I'm with Texas State board NWTF. All turkeys responds to lost of Habitat and pressure as well as predators. With that being said, yes hogs do a lot damage to nesting birds once found. We have been stocking birds throughout Texas (even with Covid-19), latest release was last Tues up near Lufkin. We ha e done a lot Habitat improvement up LBJ and had release as well. Jason Hardin IS the only Texas Biologist, other Biologist you may have spoken with are related to turkeys ( yes they are Biologist, but in other areas). They will Not have all Important information regarding our turkeys and what we [NWTF/TPWD] doing for the birds. I know it may seems like there aren't many birds, but they may not be near or on your hunting lease lands. Sam Houston NF has birds, Angelina NF has 'em, LBJ has them. Get involved to help the flock....shoot a yote, hog when given a chance
NWTF Texas State board
NWTF =National Wild Turkey Federation we are here for you and future generations

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Wade:
I am the local biologist in Wise County for TPWD, and serve on the state board of NWTF with you. I office with the LBJ folks in Decatur, and am familiar with most things occurring on the LBJ. We have not released any turkeys on the LBJ or in north Texas west of I-35 in many many many years. No releases have occurred at least since the 1980's, and I'm not sure any have ever been released in the area around LBJ. The population is down some over the entire area north of the metroplex and west at least to Hwy 16. I don't work past there so I'm not sure of that. This decline has occurred over the last 5 or 6 years. I am not alarmed by it, as turkey populations do fluctuate over time, with boom and bust cycles. However, the growth of the hog population is also coinciding with turkey decline. Is it causative or correlative? We've got to figure that out.
The work that the USFS and NWTF have done on the LBJ is great for turkeys, but more needs to be done. And hogs need to be killed. They will begin trapping hogs soon, and hopefully can put a dent in the hog population and help improve the turkey population.
If you'd like to chat about this, please let me know. My number is on the newsletter and on the TPWD website. Happy hunting.
Jennifer


If you'd like to chat about this, please holler. You've got my number on the

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Old 04-03-2021, 12:01 PM   #20
wildaggie
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Originally Posted by .243 WSSM View Post
Thank you tiberiuswade for the info, good to know. So they released turkeys at lbj? Is this part of a study or what? If not, why are they releasing birds? If the population has dropped that much I am surprised they haven't shut the season down at lbj. The most important habitat tool is prescribed burning. Cant get any updates on if/when they will be doing any spring burns out there. Without them the population will continue to plummet. Thanks for the info
No turkeys have been released on or around LBJ since at least the 1980's. Turkeys populations fluctuate over time. TPWD is keeping an eye on the population, but there are certainly still decent numbers of turkeys on the landscape.
LBJ is actively burning now. They burned part of Unit 31 on April 1 and part of Unit 39 on April 2. They may burn more next week if the weather cooperates and the landscape isn't too green.
Good luck out there.
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Old 04-03-2021, 09:33 PM   #21
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Thanks fir your input "wildaggie", much appreciated!
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:07 PM   #22
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I'm hopeful but not optimistic about reducing hog numbers around LBJ. The area is such a mix of public and private that I'm afraid all we'll do is harass them. If we could coordinate public and private trapping together with some night shooting maybe we could put in a dent. I'll do my part until it gets too overgrown and hot.
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Old 04-07-2021, 08:47 AM   #23
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I went out and walked a good portion of a unit yesterday evening that had so much hog sign, I honestly donít think a hen could get a nest hatched.


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Old 04-07-2021, 09:16 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by wildaggie View Post
No turkeys have been released on or around LBJ since at least the 1980's. Turkeys populations fluctuate over time. TPWD is keeping an eye on the population, but there are certainly still decent numbers of turkeys on the landscape.
LBJ is actively burning now. They burned part of Unit 31 on April 1 and part of Unit 39 on April 2. They may burn more next week if the weather cooperates and the landscape isn't too green.
Good luck out there.
Why is LBJ doing active burns during nesting season? Wouldn't that be counterproductive to raising poult numbers in that area?
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:50 AM   #25
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Why is LBJ doing active burns during nesting season? Wouldn't that be counterproductive to raising poult numbers in that area?
Mike Chamberlain, @wildturkeydoc on Instagram, just did a post on this exact subject on March 16th with some really good information. He also did a podcast on the subject around the same time with Fire University Podcast if youíd like even more detail.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:35 PM   #26
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I went out and walked a good portion of a unit yesterday evening that had so much hog sign, I honestly don’t think a hen could get a nest hatched.


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Wait-a-minute. Just wondering. Are you in Bandera like your locations (under your avatar) says? Long drive to just to go walk it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 07:47 PM   #27
jnd1959
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Why is LBJ doing active burns during nesting season? Wouldn't that be counterproductive to raising poult numbers in that area?
Burns now will produce more grassy forage than woody forage from burns in the winter is what I've heard. Trading some polts now for better nesting habitat in future years. Plus, the burns I've seen are not big, hot burns but small controlled ones in the wooded areas. Dunno if that's the case for all of them though.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:03 PM   #28
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Wait-a-minute. Just wondering. Are you in Bandera like your locations (under your avatar) says? Long drive to just to go walk it.

Work trip...threw my turkey gear in the truck just in case I had some extra time


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Old 04-07-2021, 10:06 PM   #29
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Burns this time of year are fine as long as they are low intensity burns, and small in acreage. However , the USFS is famous(especially in the SE piney woods) for burning, I mean scorching, HUGE tracts of woods this time of year with HIGH intensity burns.


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Old 04-13-2021, 02:53 PM   #30
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243wssm
Not a study, but our efforts to put MORE birds back into the area. We have also been doing some habit improvements in area as well. Clear salt cedar, burns and public access improvements. Annie Farrell is our turkey Biologist in that area and she has done some extensive work for habit ( now keep in mind this has alot to do with funding for various projects). We NWTF partners up with TPWD to help with cost of each project. Being on board we allocate funds as TPWD requests, but we are forever hassling with the FEDERAL government to get OUR share back from them.
Most hunters are NOT aware that even though we Texans buy and help pay for our licenses (hunt/fish.. etc). A VERY large portion goes the the federal government NPS. Texas then have to request funding from them to be used in our state (even though that $$$ is rightfully ours). Yeah all states have to. That's why NWTF working with them on funding until the Feds either approves or dis approves funding on various projects. Sorry for long winded, but want hunters to be Aware.
We release birds for future generations to enjoy and have an opportunity to hunt.

Norm

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I don't think that bit about Texas hunting license money going to the National Park Service is correct. Now, we do have to fight the Texas legislature about getting that money to TPWD, but the Texas lege can't spend it.

The federal government dollars that TPWD has to request are Pittman-Robertson or Dingle Johnson excise tax dollars and Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:45 PM   #31
Texas452
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiberiuswade View Post
Hi all
Grateful that many of you are concerned about turkeys being scarce in certain areas. 1st I'm with Texas State board NWTF. All turkeys responds to lost of Habitat and pressure as well as predators. With that being said, yes hogs do a lot damage to nesting birds once found. We have been stocking birds throughout Texas (even with Covid-19), latest release was last Tues up near Lufkin. We ha e done a lot Habitat improvement up LBJ and had release as well. Jason Hardin IS the only Texas Biologist, other Biologist you may have spoken with are related to turkeys ( yes they are Biologist, but in other areas). They will Not have all Important information regarding our turkeys and what we [NWTF/TPWD] doing for the birds. I know it may seems like there aren't many birds, but they may not be near or on your hunting lease lands. Sam Houston NF has birds, Angelina NF has 'em, LBJ has them. Get involved to help the flock....shoot a yote, hog when given a chance
NWTF Texas State board
NWTF =National Wild Turkey Federation we are here for you and future generations

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I believe the predators are the main problem.
Coyotes from what I hear are expanding there range.

We hunted not far from stonewall for 22 years starting in 1972 and never heard or seen a coyote. I hear they have moved into that area.
On my ranch in Coleman co we found 2 hens that were probably taken off the nest and eaten by something
We havenít seen any hog sign in Coleman but we do have pictures of bobcats and lots of coons
Thatís my thoughts.
Thanks
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Old 04-21-2021, 10:54 PM   #32
jnd1959
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Speaking of NWTF, if your thinking if joining now's a good time. With the caronaebola the last year,all the hunt orgs are sufferin some.
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