• Dear User,

    We had issues in getting your old password work with the new version of the software, henceforth kindly Reset Your Password here

    You won't be able to login with your old password

    If you do not receive the Password reset request within a few minutes, please check your Junk / Spam E-mail folder just in case the email got delivered there instead of your inbox. If so, select Not Junk, which will allow future messages to get through.

    If you still need assistance, email [email protected]

    We appreciate your patience and understanding on this matter.

Anyone seeing fewer turkeys?

chadw

Member
I was hunting first season near Albia and thought there were fewer birds. The cooler weather didn’t help either. Gobblers didn’t seem very fired up. Did anyone see any turkey winter kill?

Well, southwest Iowa seems to have increased numbers this year. Maybe just our county. Not sure.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

ReinertsonTaxidermy

Well-Known Member
If Iowa had a rule like Missouri do you think it would help? Lots less reaping and picking off Toms going to roost. Just a question, I don’t know if stopping hunting at noon would make a difference. Mother Nature seems to work itself out eventually whether it’s good for us or not
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
Fairly good bird numbers still in Western Loess Hills. I can’t compare it to years past, only back to 2018. Seems to be pretty good.

Plenty of predators out there as well? Not sure if it’s more of a “pockets” of birds? My son shot one yesterday (24 lbs).
 

Attachments

  • F342C1B6-9429-44A9-964C-96A21253BB9B.jpeg
    F342C1B6-9429-44A9-964C-96A21253BB9B.jpeg
    916 KB · Views: 22

Muddyrem

New Member
If Iowa had a rule like Missouri do you think it would help? Lots less reaping and picking off Toms going to roost. Just a question, I don’t know if stopping hunting at noon would make a difference. Mother Nature seems to work itself out eventually whether it’s good for us or not
Im not sure on that. I haven’t seen the scientific information behind Missouri’s ideas. IMO I would say any time turkeys can have time to be turkeys and do turkey things; the better. So I think iowa doing something like that would be a step in the right direction. As far as it goes toward reaping, I don’t think the timeframe maters. Seems like anytime turkeys are in the open, strutting; someone is molesting them. Use to be able to drive around any time of the day and see strutters out and about. Now If you do see some, pry not a good idea to stop because they run like cockroaches when the lights come on.

I’ve hunted all over the state of iowa. I’ve hunted Nebraska and Kansas as well. And it seems to be a constant theme. Bird numbers are the strongest where hunting pressure seems limited. I think if every guy manager their piece of property and didn’t look at them as a renewable resource, our turkey numbers would be much better across the state. But when you’ve got 4 guys huntint all 4 seasons on a parcel only holding 3 toms, a guy can see why those 12 hens aren’t having successful clutches.....they aren’t getting bred. A Tom turkey can breed every hen on the farm, I ain’t buying that.
 

Spysar

Active Member
Just an idea. Why does Iowa and many other states put the season in prime mating time? (april or earlier in some states) Move the season to May when the majority of the mating is done. Also maybe only hunt until noon? Give the turkeys half of the day to properly nest and do their thing.....I think hunting them in prime breeding when they are so "dumb" and hunting them all day, so they can't get undisturbed nesting , is what might be doing them in. ( It would also be harder to reap them in May)
 

Hawk32

Active Member
Never saw a bird yesterday. Heard one maybe two. Saturday passed on 2 jakes saw one tom who went over the hill and got shot by someone else. helped him carry it out though. lol Some areas I hunt are definitely over hunted others are not at all and I'm seeing the same thing. Low numbers. Hope some regs get changed but that's probably hard to do.
 

sep0667

Land of the Whitetail
I got into turkey hunting a few years ago. But, I have always known in the area I live/grew up in where the common spots where to see a big flock of birds. My commute to work before I moved there were several spots along heavy traveled roads that it was a guarantee to see groups of boards out in the morning and toms strutting in the spring. The past couple of years some of these spots I don't see birds at all anymore when I drive by and the others not near as many, if any at all. Polk county.

2018 I shot my first tom directly across the street from my parents house. Grew up there seeing turkeys across the street all the time. I remember in the spring if I had my window open overnight I would be woken up by toms gobbling before my alarm in the spring. This year my parents have not seen a single bird across the street and nor heard any gobbling.
 

sep0667

Land of the Whitetail
As others have already stated, Dr. Mike chamberlain; bird biologist from Georgia has done extensive, extensive research. Their findings are saying the dominant Tom is the breeder. One he’s been killed, it takes some time for the next bird to become Topdog. Guys who are reaping birds, are targeting majority of the time; that dominate bird. Therefor, since I’m a betting man; more toms are getting killed that fit that mold. We have had 2 excellent springs followed by mild winters (excluding 2020/2021) yet bird numbers continue to drop. I understand there’s other aspects to this equation. But from my opinion and what I’m seeing, this factor is coming from humans snd pressure. Even Mike, being the avid turkey hunter he seems to be, made some comments on his podcasts about numbers of hunters and the available populations of birds. Social media has made everyone and their dog a turkey hunter. Good, bad or indifferent I think it’s an issue. Selling more licenses isn’t doing anything to increase the population.
I think theres some truth to this. Just like shed hunting before social media took off, not many people shed hunted. Now everyone shed hunts. I've been watching youtube hunting etc for years and the past few years there is tons of turkey hunts on youtube and social media.
 

scottonbuck

Well-Known Member
I’m going to be that guy. Iowa harvested turkeys are up significantly from years prior, if my memory stands corrected; it was the largest harvest ever recorded. More snd more people getting into the sport every year. More competition. More birds killed. Decoys, tactics, YouTube, etc. people can become experts overnight. Mix in all the guys who strictly fan turkeys. I know people who couldn’t work their way around the turkey woods, let alone operate a call; yet they’re killing 2 toms every year. The moment youth season opens until season closes I would say vast majority of iowa is getting hunted. Seems odd the places where no hunting is allowed there seems to be pockets of unbelievable bird numbers. I think there are obviously other factors playing into this. But I definitely believe we are just as much to blame as Mother Nature.
That doesnt explain the rapid drop in numbers of Hens, literally had farms with 30-40 hens every year now only have single digits.
This decline has been in the last 4 years. I havent seen a Jake in 3 years when there used to be gangs of them running around. Needless to say the lack of Jakes has turned into the lack of longbeards.
 

scottonbuck

Well-Known Member
If Iowa had a rule like Missouri do you think it would help? Lots less reaping and picking off Toms going to roost. Just a question, I don’t know if stopping hunting at noon would make a difference. Mother Nature seems to work itself out eventually whether it’s good for us or not
Missouri's turkey population is crashing as well, Kansas went to a one bird limit for most of the state do to rapid decline in population. I doubt hunters numbers have skyrocketed enough to cause the drastic drop in numbers.
I had 7 hens come running into my dustpan decoy, 7 hens not a tom around go figure.
 

Muddyrem

New Member
That doesnt explain the rapid drop in numbers of Hens, literally had farms with 30-40 hens every year now only have single digits.
This decline has been in the last 4 years. I havent seen a Jake in 3 years when there used to be gangs of them running around. Needless to say the lack of Jakes has turned into the lack of longbeards.
The rule of the wild. Toms gobble to round up his hens. Hens come to the gobble, that’s fact. When there’s no Toms to gobble, what do you recon the hens do? They go searching, and I guess I associate that with putting them at more risk. I’ve seen piles and piles of hens hit along I35 in the last 2’weeks from Des Moines to Leon. I’m sure they get hit every year, but odd for me to notice them all the sudden. Seems like I’ve also noticed on farms where there’s limited Tom numbers. Those hens are rapidly decreasing. Odd those two things go hand and hand. You’re not seeing Jakes because your not seeing poults or young period.

Did any of you get to chase the wild bison?

How about the rapid decrease in the bluefin tuna

Both scenarios directly related to man and their over-harvest..
 

scottonbuck

Well-Known Member
The rule of the wild. Toms gobble to round up his hens. Hens come to the gobble, that’s fact. When there’s no Toms to gobble, what do you recon the hens do? They go searching, and I guess I associate that with putting them at more risk. I’ve seen piles and piles of hens hit along I35 in the last 2’weeks from Des Moines to Leon. I’m sure they get hit every year, but odd for me to notice them all the sudden. Seems like I’ve also noticed on farms where there’s limited Tom numbers. Those hens are rapidly decreasing. Odd those two things go hand and hand. You’re not seeing Jakes because your not seeing poults or young period.

Did any of you get to chase the wild bison?

How about the rapid decrease in the bluefin tuna

Both scenarios directly related to man and their over-harvest..
I dont think it has to do with overhunting, there is roughly 2000acres of Non hunting ground that has zero hunting pressure and hasnt been hunted in 20 years the Turkeys have vanished from those areas as well. I think there is something bigger or a compilation of things. One of the farms i have sole access to it was not unusual to see 12-15 toms strutting on the farm. Id kill 2-3 toms a year leaving 9-12 toms to do the breeding. I was and still am the only one hunting this farm and you are lucky to see turkeys on that farm now. 350 acres with very low pressure on the birds and they have all but vanished. No other turkey hunters in the neighborhood, honey hole one might say. That is just one of the 10 farms i have sole access on with the same story birds are just gone. I dont have an answer for it thats for sure. It could be some of the herbicides/pesticides that the birds are injesting thru insects and grains but i think that would be effecting the pheasants as well. Could be an overabundance of predators do to the lacking fur market, i try to kill my share of coons and oppossums, could be the booming population of Bob cats i can say i see more momma cats with kittens than i do hens with broods. They need to open the quota on those bastards, then Old man winter came in for the knockout punch this past winter with thick Ice on the ground for 2 months covered in deep snow.
The DNR took samples of turkey legs last spring for testing but I havent seen any results from those test yet.
 

vrod

Member
I know our turkeys in warren county have dropped by huge numbers. I never thought about the hen number decrease. But that has been the most important. I also feel the number of bow hunters has increased dramatically in the last ten yrs. with that has come large numbers of wounded birds not being found and hunters then shooting another bird. But bottom line is the hens disappearing are the biggest factor.
 

Daver

PMA Member
If I am certain about anything related to the decline of the wild turkey population, at least in SE Iowa, I am certain that the decline is NOT related over harvest by hunters. Although we find few these days, as there is essentially next to nothing left to find, when we were finding dead adult turkey carcasses a few years back...we found several more per year than we were harvesting...and that doesn't count the unknown number of other casualties that we did not happen to find. I am sure we only found a small percentage.

I was out and about on my farm this past Saturday and while I was not in stealth mode, I saw no turks, heard no turks, saw no tracks, saw no droppings, found no feathers, saw no dust bowls, etc, etc. Rewind back to say 10 years ago...even if I wasn't hunting and just working, like this past Saturday, I would have undoubtedly encountered multiple birds and/or fresh sign. They are not there any longer...at least in appreciable numbers.
 

mplane72

Well-Known Member
About 12 years ago I got permission on a farm that was always full of Turkeys, east Central Iowa. It is the best wintering habitat in the area. During muzzy season the usual was to see more Turkeys from the stand then you could count. In the last 4 to 5 years we have seen a steady decline in numbers both deer and turkey hunting and we're not that hard on the turkeys. Nesting habitat in the area is unchanged or improved. I do see coyotes trying for turks regularly. Bobcats are not yet to common in the area, at least that I'm aware. Don't find to many kill sights. No idea what's up but numbers are certainly on the decline from what I can see.
 

OMB

New Member
The rule of the wild. Toms gobble to round up his hens. Hens come to the gobble, that’s fact. When there’s no Toms to gobble, what do you recon the hens do? They go searching, and I guess I associate that with putting them at more risk. I’ve seen piles and piles of hens hit along I35 in the last 2’weeks from Des Moines to Leon. I’m sure they get hit every year, but odd for me to notice them all the sudden. Seems like I’ve also noticed on farms where there’s limited Tom numbers. Those hens are rapidly decreasing. Odd those two things go hand and hand. You’re not seeing Jakes because your not seeing poults or young period.

Did any of you get to chase the wild bison?

How about the rapid decrease in the bluefin tuna

Both scenarios directly related to man and their over-harvest..

I think there's probably some factors in play that are outside of overhunting, whether that's habitat, changes in agricultural practices, or disease like West Nile Virus (lots of evidence pointing to that being an issue in ruffed grouse.)

But I also do think right now, especially with the spike in hunting activity we've seen across the country due to Covid, we might be need to cut back on opportunity until we can get a better handle on what's going on. Completely anecdotal, but this is the first year I can ever remember not being able to pick up a non-resident leftover 4th season for NE Iowa in April a few weeks before the season started, and they were sold out solid within a week or two of going on sale.

I wouldn't be opposed at all to any of the states I hunt in moving the season dates back later in the spring so we're not hunting them for 6-7 weeks straight starting in early April and/or going to a 1 bird limit until we get a better idea of what's going on with the population.
 

sep0667

Land of the Whitetail
Slow day at work.....I took the available harvest #'s available off the DNR's site that goes back to 2007 for the most southeast counties in IA. I did throw in Polk and Mahaska just for fun because that's where I turkey hunt. Interesting how Polk and Mahaska harvest #'s are trending up, although I know for a fact I see when driving in polk a lot fewer turkeys than I use to just 5 years ago. Red indicates a drop in harvest #'s from the previous year. I wish I knew how to make a line graph, it would show this information much better(im sure I could figure out how or it may even be on the dnr site).

1619026982008.png


Some of the southeast counties do not seem bad, Appanoose in particular.

A lot of birds harvested, one of the top in the state actually. For Appanoose if you compare 07 to 17, 08 to 18, 09 to 19, 10 to 20 Appanoose is actually well ahead of where it was 10 years prior for all those comparisons. We are talking 50 to nearly 100 more birds harvested in those decade comparisons.

-Wapello is trending down noticeably, its nearly all red.
-Van Buren is really ugly. By far the worst drop in harvests. Look at Van Buren in 07, 08, 09, 10 and the compare those to 17, 18, 19, 20. 200 fewer birds harvested in 17 compared to 07!
-Des Moines seemed to dip in the early teens, but has come back up.
-Henry seems to have held fairly steady, but has dropped some
-Jefferson, dropping

You can only tell so much from these #'s. There's nothing to tell you how many people are out in the field turkey hunting these counties today compared to 10+ years ago. Like does Appanoose all of a sudden have a lot more people hunting there the past few years skewing the harvest #'s to make it seem like there are more birds there compared to 10 years ago? Maybe there are fewer hunters in the southeast IA region. Southeast IA is a well known big deer area, there are probably a lot more properties bought and leased for deer hunting now than compared to 10-15 years ago in the area and that has dwindled the number of turkey hunters due to decreased access resulting in fewer harvests...but I also know that people just driving the roads say they see a lot fewer birds now.

Some of these counites, in particular Van Buren is very alarming(is there by chance a big farm turkey operation in the county that maybe a disease or something hurt the #'s of wild birds), but then you have just couple counties over Appanoose climbing. Overall though, southeast is IA is trending down. I think its a combination of things. Is it something to do with farming practices, a disease, maybe fewer hunters, predators? Probably a combination of all this stuff. Hopefully something can be figured out soon as to the cause.
 

ElkFever2

New Member
I’ve been hunting turkeys on public in IA since 2011. In that time I’ve seen 2 total other turkey hunters afield. I’ve never had trouble finding turkeys - they have always seemed to be quite abundant. I have always seen what appears to be populations that have balanced age and sex classes.

One thing I’ve learned/observed in hunting turkeys is that they range over large areas. One 600-800 acre area might have 20-25 birds roosting, feeding, loafing, and nesting one year, and the next year there might just be a few turkeys that occasionally pass thru that area. The birds aren’t “gone” - they have just moved on to more favorable habitat depending on availability of prime feeding/nesting conditions, etc.

If turkey populations were any higher, I would be surprised. The reason for this is the abundance of egg-eating predators such as coons, opossums, skunks, and badgers, which I see all over the place.
 
Top Bottom