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As I sit at home and look at social media and get text messages from friends, it looks like a lot more turkeys died this year than others. Having said that how do you think people being out of work is going to affect the turkey population next year because of COVID-19?
 

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I’m afraid it’s going to be a pretty negative affect. I used to think that taking gobblers out of the flock wasn’t a big deal, that the hens would be bred either way until I listened to the meat eater podcast with
Dr. Michael Chamberlain the other day. He covers some interesting things about taking out the dominate gobblers before the majority of hens are bred. Along with alot of other facts I had no idea about. I knew they had it rough from the start but had no clue about the recent numbers they have been getting on nest success. I highly recommend listening to it.
 

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This should be a record number of kills for our state. More man hours have been logged this season than probably any in our lifetime. Turkeys haven’t seen this much pressure. Turkeys adapt beleive to survive but will there be a decline next year......... I could only imagine that it would have to have an impact. The kicker is just wait till fall. I am a firm believer from what I am seeing that we will be in another even tighter lock down come the fall when flu season hits and this virus is still around. Combined with the flu will be a recipe for real tragedy. So then you will have the deer season to go through exactly what we are seeing on the turkey season end
 

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I’m betting the harvest #s will be record high . I know the pressure on public and private in my area is stronger then I’ve ever witnessed .. folks are off work and hunting every day . I don’t blame them , if I could I would also . I’m just hoping folks will stick by the limits ... but I’m sure there will be “ those guys “. 😟
 

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Just checked MDWFP website and it shows 9750 turkeys reported so far with about 2 weeks of season left. If Memory serves me we killed about 12,500 last year and the last 2 weeks of season were low reports last year. If that stays true we may not kill as many this year as last even with an increase in hunting pressure.
 

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Just checked MDWFP website and it shows 9750 turkeys reported so far with about 2 weeks of season left. If Memory serves me we killed about 12,500 last year and the last 2 weeks of season were low reports last year. If that stays true we may not kill as many this year as last even with an increase in hunting pressure.
I suspect there will be a bunch of #3's pouring in the last week.
 

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I don't know if the number of kills will be up, but the birds are definitely more pressured. I tried to kill a limit in one national forest. I killed two before the social distancing orders. I would get up at 3:00 and drive to the woods(two hours driving time). After the orders, pressure in the forest was crazy. Turkeys did go into a lull, but they do that every year. But I certainly saw way more people and had truck after truck turn around where I was parked before daylight. Killed my last one this morning, less than a mile from my house. LOL.
 

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Just checked MDWFP website and it shows 9750 turkeys reported so far with about 2 weeks of season left. If Memory serves me we killed about 12,500 last year and the last 2 weeks of season were low reports last year. If that stays true we may not kill as many this year as last even with an increase in hunting pressure.
Seems right on track to be close to last years reported harvest!
Question remains though if the majority are getting reported like they should!!
One can only hope
 

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If folks would refrain from shooting gobblers who were with hens, the preferred males, the effect on hunting would probably be negligible. The hens who lose their preferred mate apparently are often somewhat slow to choose a replacement mate. Few hunters will adopt that shooting strategy.
 

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I would not put any faith in the accuracy of the reported turkey harvest. Or the estimated harvest number the state comes up with after they say the reported number isn’t accurate.
 

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I would not put any faith in the accuracy of the reported turkey harvest. Or the estimated harvest number the state comes up with after they say the reported number isn't accurate.
No you cant deem that as the correct # but it is a starting point that wasn't available in yrs past... just for responses what would your estimate be of total birds not reported?
 

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We all know that the reported turkey harvest data is not going to be right. Way to many yahoo's out there thinking they got to shoot every gobbler they see. Wish they would drop the limit by 1 bird at least.
 

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It is a great starting point for sure. As far as numbers not reported that’s a tough one. I think every county could be at least 10 to 20 percent not reported. Some counties, like mine, could easily be 50 percent not reported.
 

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It is a great starting point for sure. As far as numbers not reported that's a tough one. I think every county could be at least 10 to 20 percent not reported. Some counties, like mine, could easily be 50 percent not reported.
Looking at the #'s, I think we've had some get reported 2X in our county TJC. [confused] If that's only 50% reported then where are they? They're not W of 43 and S of 26 I can promise you that. [sad]
 

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I know of 1 club that has killed 20 gobblers on 5,000 acres. Yes, it is East of 43 and North of 26!!! IYou gotta remember we have quite a few deer “pens” that help add to our total too. Most of the pens have a very good turkey population.
 

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my guess is 30% is unreported.take tennessee for example right at 23,000 turkeys has been harvested in first 10 days. that's 75% of the birds that was killed last year and still got about 25 days to go
 

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It's very hard for me to understand the numbers for various reasons.

With COVID, hunting man-hours have been way higher than usual. People off of work and in the woods present many challenges for the turkey population. Kills will be higher in number as well as pressure. Those who normally don't get their limit certainly have a higher probability to do so with more availability to hunt. The same goes for those who usually get their limit... now those numbers get inflated. It's hard to extrapolate what that looks like, but it's not in the turkeys' favor which means we, as hunters, also suffer this year and the next 2 years realistically.

To complicate that more, the growth of social media and the need to be seen posting a gobbler is worse than ever. To be fair, taking a turkey is no small feat and should be rewarding for not only the hunter but their friends who also appreciate it. The fact of the matter is, we have thousands of people now one-upping each other trying to pump those numbers and street cred. While that's a soap-box item, the point is it may "appear" that more birds are being taken when in reality, we don't really know if these are the same folks who have killed in the past and no one knew. Maybe we just weren't privy to it. It's very similar to the harvest numbers. I would think less than 50% of the people killing turkeys are actually reporting them. That's pretty low, and many folks I know still worry about big brother tracking their every move if they report a turkey so they choose not to. Biologists are doing a very difficult job and the data they have truly affects our turkey future. The more accurate the data, the better predictions they can make.

To Silvestris' point about choosing birds to take, I believe it's a valid one. Most, and I mean 99% of hunters, take the first bird they have in their lap. That's fair, and I don't blame anyone for doing that when your encounters are so few with those gobblers. But a few years ago, I adopted a way of hunting that has benefitted me and the properties I hunt. Depending on the acreage and bordering properties, this is harder to implement, but I choose to take only 1 bird per 100 acres. This has helped me grow the flocks considerably since starting this. I've got 3 places that I hunt and I've taken 4 birds off of them in 5 years and no more than 1 per year. A couple of other people have taken 1 additional bird from 2 of them (that I know of). For each of those properties, numbers grew year over year in adult toms. It looks like I lost 2 of the older gobblers this past offseason due to either age or predation, and that was disappointing because they were really good ones (at least 5 years old). Point being, my hunting enjoyment has gone up by being super selective. I have places that I can go and hear or see turkeys on every trip. If I call up a good bird and let it walk, I've still won. That to me is just as good as pulling the trigger but to each their own. Sometimes that doesn't do it for everyone, and I understand that. The fact that I invest a lot of money and time into these places makes me work harder at doing what I need to do as a conservationist first, hunter second.

One man's opinion, but I think it's a pretty good plate of food for thought. One of the reasons I enjoy this forum is because it does make me think about things. There are some straight killers on here, and I constantly learn something each year by listening.
 

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Look at guys they busted killing all those turkeys. That is a small fraction of the people that kill as many birds as they can. It’s a drug to some and a competition to others. Only the honest comply with game laws.
 

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I know of 1 club that has killed 20 gobblers on 5,000 acres. Yes, it is East of 43 and North of 26!!! IYou gotta remember we have quite a few deer "pens" that help add to our total too. Most of the pens have a very good turkey population.
Yeah, the pens and that part of the county have to account for the vast majority of the total.
 
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