Waved the white flag

30/06

Old Mossy Horns
There are areas on the S side of the river that have been that way for years. Area I used to hunt would have 6 + birds gobbling on a good morning, now it’s a ghost town. Within 5 years I predict the N side will be the same as big a decline as I’ve seen in the last 5 years.
 

Zach's Grandpa

Old Mossy Horns
There are areas on the S side of the river that have been that way for years. Area I used to hunt would have 6 + birds gobbling on a good morning, now it’s a ghost town. Within 5 years I predict the N side will be the same as big a decline as I’ve seen in the last 5 years.
How many have been killed on the lease y’all have?
 

waymoe1

Ten Pointer
It is very sad what is occurring in Caswell and other counties in the area. There was a time when these counties carried the state with turkey harvest numbers. My family farm on the west side of Caswell is nothing like it used to be. There was a time when it was nothing to hear 6+ gobblers a morning on the farm, now we are pumped to have one to hunt on 150 acres. I just really don't get what is going on, our farm really hasn't changed all that much in the last 24 years. We still farm the same as we did and there really hasn't been any development around us, the only change that has occurred is our cutovers have grown out a little. Really hope to have a swing back in the other direction in a few years, hate my son is not getting to experience that same spring mornings I grew up on. Nothing like a cool Caswell morning in April when the birds would blow the bark off the trees on them hills down by the creek!
 

Scrub

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Hay cutting has be hard on them in areas…..I was bush hogging yesterday but didn’t do one 3-4 acre area because I usually see a hen nest in there. Saw her yesterday evening near the area I didn’t mess with so happy I didn’t mess her up.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
I really thought the hunting would get better in Caswell as folks got local turkeys to hunt. Used to be all central NC hunters traveled to Caswell.
Not sure but having birds and losing them is almost as bad as never having them.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
Way worse, because we know what we lost.
I cant even imagine what it was like for guys of my grandfathers age to watch the loss of the quail like they did.
Given the lack of any real root cause of declines after millions in research on the issue I hear an awful lot of folks declare the turkey is heading the way of the quail.

Of course all the research avoids uncomfortable topics like hunting pressure and methods of take. The industry can’t handle the truth.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
Given the lack of any real root cause of declines after millions in research on the issue I hear an awful lot of folks declare the turkey is heading the way of the quail.

Of course all the research avoids uncomfortable topics like hunting pressure and methods of take. The industry can’t handle the truth.
Would be interesting to take 5000 acres in the area of low turkey numbers and manage for turkeys, as in some clear cut, some older timber, some laid out fields, some type of Jan/Feb food source. Still allow male turkey hunting as normal.
Maybe get a permit to trap and kill many turkey predators.
And just notice the impact or no change.
 

CutNRun

Ten Pointer
Contributor
Can’t hunt em where you want em to be…gotta go where they are…
^This is what's hurting me this year. Too many external changes I have no control over is screwing the areas I have access to.

Jim
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
Would be interesting to take 5000 acres in the area of low turkey numbers and manage for turkeys, as in some clear cut, some older timber, some laid out fields, some type of Jan/Feb food source. Still allow male turkey hunting as normal. And just notice the impact or no change.
I may be wrong but that’s basically what caswell and other places are. Prime habitat void or way down in population
Not 5000 acre tracts but in totality the same issue.
 

QBD2

Old Mossy Horns
^This is what's hurting me this year. Too many external changes I have no control over is screwing the areas I have access to.

Jim
Tis why I drive to hunt. I’d rather spend some windshield time than bang my head against the wall hoping👍 The closest place I’ve hunted this season, other than my backyard once, was 45 min away. The majority has been 1.5 one way, and I’ll do that before work. And that’s just my local stuff…
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
I may be wrong but that’s basically what caswell and other places are. Prime habitat void or way down in population
Not 5000 acre tracts but in totality the same issue.
Yeah sounds right. Maybe a change in how the land is farmed? I don't understand how killing Toms keeps hens from raising poults.
My understanding most hens are bred a month before season starts. After breeding, her eggs are fertile for another 30 days.
Now if nest gets destroyed and she has to start over in May, lack of toms may cause a problem,
The areas I hunt, no till farming has helped our turkey population.
 

QBD2

Old Mossy Horns
It is very sad what is occurring in Caswell and other counties in the area. There was a time when these counties carried the state with turkey harvest numbers. My family farm on the west side of Caswell is nothing like it used to be. There was a time when it was nothing to hear 6+ gobblers a morning on the farm, now we are pumped to have one to hunt on 150 acres. I just really don't get what is going on, our farm really hasn't changed all that much in the last 24 years. We still farm the same as we did and there really hasn't been any development around us, the only change that has occurred is our cutovers have grown out a little. Really hope to have a swing back in the other direction in a few years, hate my son is not getting to experience that same spring mornings I grew up on. Nothing like a cool Caswell morning in April when the birds would blow the bark off the trees on them hills down by the creek!
The habitat has changed dramatically in 24 years. We just have trouble recognizing it because it happens so slow. But if you left that place 24 yrs ago and came back today?

Another thing…I haven’t been hunting them all that long, but even I’ve seen a shift towards birds using thicker cover. I’d say that has a lot to do with the avian predator problem, along with fescue being everywhere.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
Also in the past, I've turkey hunted in Duplin County a couple of times. Before that we'd drive the 1.5 hours to rabbit hunt.
The habitat there is very diverse, with swamps, high grounds, mature woods, cut overs, fields...etc.
It might not be a fluke the gobbler population is booming and may continue for decades.
Researchers need to study the south eastern part of NC counties, for what's working.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
The habitat has changed dramatically in 24 years. We just have trouble recognizing it because it happens so slow. But if you left that place 24 yrs ago and came back today?

Another thing…I haven’t been hunting them all that long, but even I’ve seen a shift towards birds using thicker cover. I’d say that has a lot to do with the avian predator problem, along with fescue being everywhere.
Fescue is useless for wildlife
 

timekiller13

Old Mossy Horns
Why do people keep hunting and killing birds in areas they claim/know to have declining/struggling populations?

This makes zero sense to me. If it’s as bad as everyone says it is, stop hunting/killing them. Go somewhere else for a while and give the population a chance to recover.

I’m going to add that looking at the data, Caswell has 301 reported birds. That’s right on line with where they have been the last 12-15 yrs. So it appears the population is pretty steady.
 
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Zach's Grandpa

Old Mossy Horns
Why do people keep hunting and killing birds in areas they claim/know to have declining/struggling populations?

This makes zero sense to me. If it’s as bad as everyone says it is, stop hunting/killing them. Go somewhere else for a while and give the population a chance to recover.
Three of us have killed three birds in the last six years, no jakes. A better question is, why don’t the people who have the authority to do so take some measures that would help? I’ve said for several years that the season should be totally closed in Caswell for at least two years. We all know it’s not gonna happen.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
Also in the past, I've turkey hunted in Duplin County a couple of times. Before that we'd drive the 1.5 hours to rabbit hunt.
The habitat there is very diverse, with swamps, high grounds, mature woods, cut overs, fields...etc.
It might not be a fluke the gobbler population is booming and may continue for decades.
Researchers need to study the south eastern part of NC counties, for what's working.
literally the answer is "Just Wait."
That prime habitat was slow to get turkeys otherwise by now it would not be booming or so say the bios. IDK.
I do know Duplin looks somewhat like eastern SC and from what Ruth says they aint booming down there. Again IDK.
The habitat deal strikes me as a feel good cover all bases reason. Of course the habitat needs to be in place but there is plenty of habitat in places that are/were struggling with population issues.
If you go back far enough the great thinking was that turkeys needed big tracts of mature hardwoods to have a chance. One excuse used to not stock downeast in NC.
Has any variable changed as drastically in the turkey equation as hunting pressure and ease of take? Yet it is ignored so the industry can make money off the turkeys. IMO.
 

timekiller13

Old Mossy Horns
Three of us have killed three birds in the last six years, no jakes. A better question is, why don’t the people who have the authority to do so take some measures that would help? I’ve said for several years that the season should be totally closed in Caswell for at least two years. We all know it’s not gonna happen.
Average harvest since 2013 is 338 birds.

Highest was 390 in 2013. Lowest was 265 in 2018.

Currently 301 birds reported in Caswell with a couple days to go. They are right on their 10 yr average.

I don’t see a need to close the season based on harvest numbers.

Just a fair comparison. Harvest peaked at 482 in 2002. In 2004, the harvest was only 312.
 

Hunting Nut

Old Mossy Horns
Any place that has unlimited numbers of predators, and a finite number of prey is gonna have population problems with the prey.

Hawks, Owls, Ospreys, Eagles, and Falcons are all protected by law. Unlimited numbers.
I think Avian predators are combining with other predators to decimate turkey numbers.

Just my limited experience from my exposure in my area... There are waaaay more Owls around where many turkeys used to be. Turkeys are fewer and fewer in the same area. Plenty numbers of Owls and Hawks. Eagles have been reintroduced, along with Ospreys flourishing nearby.
Those and the snakes and four-legged predators combined, surely do some damage.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
Has any variable changed as drastically in the turkey equation as hunting pressure and ease of take? Yet it is ignored so the industry can make money off the turkeys. IMO.
That's happened for sure. But, not that many jakes are killed each year. Can't jakes breed hens almost as
well as a 3 year old gobbler? Thus keeping her eggs fertile for weeks. From what I've seen, turkey habitat plays a more important roll.
Both nesting and food, especially during a hard winter.
Turkey predators have increased with time too. Should also be high on the list.
 
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