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Owls killing turkeys?

GUP

Eight Pointer
I heard this before on a Meateater pod cast. I believe it may be the same person in the article. Seems I remember something about the university of Georgia being mentioned. Can’t say I’m surprised. Those birds have a mountain of things up against them.
 

Bailey Boat

Twelve Pointer
If Owl predation is such a problem why don't hunters find the remains on the ground in Turkey territory?? Feathers, bones or anything that would remain after a kill.....
 

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Yeah, it's the same guy. In the podcast, he described his study where they had a considerable number of GPS tagged turkeys, and when they would go to check on their roost site, they would find a decapitated tom with a plume of feathers extending away from the limb location. It was always in the spring, and always on males. In fact it was the leading cause of mortality outside of hunting for adult male turkeys.

The conclusion was that great horned owls were targeting toms when they gobbled on the limb. They also had tagged a bunch of different turkey predators and they would track their movements as well, so they knew when there were interactions between them.
 

wncnontypical

Button Buck
I remember reading about this somewhere too and that it was causing less gobbling among birds since the owls were using that to target the toms.
 

Rescue44

Twelve Pointer
There was a video on here that was located to record what would cross the log over a small stream. A turkey was attacked by what appeared to be a great horned owl. Turkey successfully fought off the owl...at least that time.
 

Ol Copper

Ten Pointer
If Owl predation is such a problem why don't hunters find the remains on the ground in Turkey territory?? Feathers, bones or anything that would remain after a kill.....
We have plenty of times, and as Turkeyfoot said, ducks too.

We found a duck back in a swampy area of Michigan this spring, as soon as you saw it you could tell that an avian predator got it.
 

wolfman

Old Mossy Horns
If Owl predation is such a problem why don't hunters find the remains on the ground in Turkey territory?? Feathers, bones or anything that would remain after a kill.....
I've found a few. But no way could I confirm what predator did it.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
i am very confused by this article - the only thing i get is the owl part.
he is really breaking some new ground with his assumptions on gobbling.
Where is Lovette Williams when we need him?

"Dont overcall with the expectation you'll get a quiet bird to suddenly light up. No amount of calling is going to get him to respond."
I really must not understand this statement? Or his turkeys are a hellavu lot smarter than the ones I hunt.
 

hawglips

Old Mossy Horns
Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that turkeys are gobbling less and less each generation because the gobbling ones are getting killed off and the quiet ones are passing on the genes....
 

ol bob

Four Pointer
Had a truck get a nice tom right in front of the house a few min.ago. With all the other problems hate to see one go like that.
 

Duckmauler dhc

Ten Pointer
A big Great Horned Owl can kill about what he wants to.
What Mack said…….I had a turkey hunt ruined by an owl one time…….had a tom coming across a field spitting and drumming and all at once I heard wing beats over my head and an owl come swooping down right at the Tom and the Tom took off never to be seen again. The owl kept swooping down at the Tom clear into the woods. Kinda crazy that an owl could ruin a hunt but I’ve had coyotes step into the field where a Tom was and the Tom actually bow up at the coyote and the yote would get outta dodge really quick.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
What Mack said…….I had a turkey hunt ruined by an owl one time…….had a tom coming across a field spitting and drumming and all at once I heard wing beats over my head and an owl come swooping down right at the Tom and the Tom took off never to be seen again. The owl kept swooping down at the Tom clear into the woods. Kinda crazy that an owl could ruin a hunt but I’ve had coyotes step into the field where a Tom was and the Tom actually bow up at the coyote and the yote would get outta dodge really quick.
Several years ago i saw three jakes run off a coyote multiple times. He would close within a certain distance and one of them would go his way and he would move away. This continued until he got on their nerves and all three chased him off for good.
It was a fine lesson on turkeys really loving chufa (they did not want to leave)and their ability to overcome coyotes sometimes.
 

Ol Copper

Ten Pointer
I think that coyotes get waaaay more credit than they are due concerning overall turkey mortality.

I believe that crows prevent more turkey births, by nest raiding, than other predators cause turkey deaths by catching them, although eagles, hawks and owls are bad azz.

I believe that turkey numbers are affected more before the eggs hatch. Coons, grinners, snakes, crows and such vermin reek massive havoc. If a turkey hatchling can just get off the ground, which doesn't take long, they do stand a fair chance overall. Better vs. their chance if they are eaten as an egg.

Maybe Im crazy, just my take on it.
 

Duckmauler dhc

Ten Pointer
I think that coyotes get waaaay more credit than they are due concerning overall turkey mortality.

I believe that crows prevent more turkey births, by nest raiding, than other predators cause turkey deaths by catching them, although eagles, hawks and owls are bad azz.

I believe that turkey numbers are affected more before the eggs hatch. Coons, grinners, snakes, crows and such vermin reek massive havoc. If a turkey hatchling can just get off the ground, which doesn't take long, they do stand a fair chance overall. Better vs. their chance if they are eaten as an egg.

Maybe Im crazy, just my take on it.
I completely agree with this. Turkeys are tough animals and how I get flopped and cut after blowing ones head makes me wonder what they would be like in survival mode when they’re alive. If I was a predator, a full grown turkey would be the last thing I was hunting.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Yeah, it's the same guy. In the podcast, he described his study where they had a considerable number of GPS tagged turkeys, and when they would go to check on their roost site, they would find a decapitated tom with a plume of feathers extending away from the limb location. It was always in the spring, and always on males. In fact it was the leading cause of mortality outside of hunting for adult male turkeys.

The conclusion was that great horned owls were targeting toms when they gobbled on the limb. They also had tagged a bunch of different turkey predators and they would track their movements as well, so they knew when there were interactions between them.
I wonder if it's same guy who said 40% of nest predation of eastern turkeys is by snakes, mostly rat snakes. And that snakes return multiple times to the nest. I see this with chicken coops, great sense of smell and survival instincts to stick around a nest. Coyote don't stand a chance around yall but black snakes get a pass?
 

Triggermortis

Ten Pointer
Many years ago in Outdoor Life? I read someone who indicated that GHO's would catch turkeys at night by sitting next to them on the roost, getting in between them and the trunk, and inching them off of the limb little by little. When the turkey's weight would no longer be supported on the limb it would either slip off or blindly flail downward toward the ground, making it then easy pickings for the owl.

Have no personal knowledge of that happening, but I suppose turkeys can't see at night, making this possible.
 

ThrillofDaChase

Ten Pointer
Many years ago in Outdoor Life? I read someone who indicated that GHO's would catch turkeys at night by sitting next to them on the roost, getting in between them and the trunk, and inching them off of the limb little by little. When the turkey's weight would no longer be supported on the limb it would either slip off or blindly flail downward toward the ground, making it then easy pickings for the owl.

Have no personal knowledge of that happening, but I suppose turkeys can't see at night, making this possible.
Owls must be real silent, because if one things is for sure I'm going to bust a turkey off the limb walking through the woods in the dark when I least expect it. lol. I heard him on the Meateater podcast and it was an interesting podcast for sure. I've killed a few coyotes coming to call and or had missed opportunities where they winded me last minute, but I think nesting hens are at more risk than turkeys in a field from coyotes.
 

ellwoodjake

Ten Pointer
I don't think coons and possums get enough credit for turkey, quail, and grouse mortality. When I was a kid, everybody coon hunted and trapped. Coons were pretty rare, but quail were plentiful. After the fur market ended, quail numbers dropped like Hunter Biden's pants. As more and more folks quit coon hunting, grouse numbers began to fall as well. With quail gone, and grouse getting spotty, I think they are turning more to turkey eggs/poults. Of course, everyone shot hawks on sight too, and rabbits were more plentiful as well. Just my .02 cents, your opinion will may vary.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I don't think coons and possums get enough credit for turkey, quail, and grouse mortality. When I was a kid, everybody coon hunted and trapped. Coons were pretty rare, but quail were plentiful. After the fur market ended, quail numbers dropped like Hunter Biden's pants. As more and more folks quit coon hunting, grouse numbers began to fall as well. With quail gone, and grouse getting spotty, I think they are turning more to turkey eggs/poults. Of course, everyone shot hawks on sight too, and rabbits were more plentiful as well. Just my .02 cents, your opinion will may vary.

I'm with you on that logic,,,

had that very conversation with a biologist down in Florida,,, he said it was all "habitat",,,,

yeah,,,no

but then, what I do expect is that the population of quail and such now are more like they were when white man first came here,,, see there was plenty of predators then too,,,
then man started working on them furbearers,,, and as you mentioned, every farmer (and hunter) shot most any hawk, owl, or eagle they saw,,,, which then allowed small upland game to bounce high in population,,, that lasted till the early 80s when the fur market crashed (SO glad I didn't follow my buddy into the "pro trapper" line of work when we graduated high school)

anyhow,,, it is what it is
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
I don't think coons and possums get enough credit for turkey, quail, and grouse mortality. When I was a kid, everybody coon hunted and trapped. Coons were pretty rare, but quail were plentiful. After the fur market ended, quail numbers dropped like Hunter Biden's pants. As more and more folks quit coon hunting, grouse numbers began to fall as well. With quail gone, and grouse getting spotty, I think they are turning more to turkey eggs/poults. Of course, everyone shot hawks on sight too, and rabbits were more plentiful as well. Just my .02 cents, your opinion will may vary.
and every hawk seen was busted. or at least in my neck of the woods.
 
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