Declining turkey populations are occurring nearly everywhere. Missouriís turkey numbers are a fraction of what it was 15 years ago. In the heyday turkey could be found in marginal habitat. Not anymore. Only the best has a few birds, and even then they arenít in any numbers.
In our county we used to kill around 800 turkey during a spring season. Now we check less than 300. Conservation Department acts like they could care less. We still have a fall shotgun season during which you can potentially and legally kill 2 hens. Fall archery deer hunters can potentially and legally kill 2 hens. Why they wonít stop all harvest of hens is beyond stupid. Cutting edge wildlife management. You donít need a PHD, just common sense to protect hens when the population is so low. This certainly isnít the only answer, but itís a regulation change that makes sense and would give the appearance that the Conservation Department gives a crap about our turkey populations and not just about selling permits.
MDC concluded years ago that the fall hunt doesn't hurt the turkey population. Some of us enjoy the fall hunt. What does hurt is wet springs, predators and pesticides. We can't do anything about the wet springs, but the trapping season should be open first week of Nov. It would help eliminate a ton of skunks and coons. Blame monsanto and farmers on the other no till is a joke, there's no ponds now before no till we had wildlife now we have poison food/feed.
I agreed with MDC years ago, however years ago we had tons of turkey. I love to fall hunt. Targeting adult gobblers in the fall was one of my favorite hunts. I havenít fall hunted since 2010. I killed a gobbler and a hen that season and felt bad that I did. Population bounces back Iíll go again, but I donít look for it to happen.
Iím speaking for North Missouri.
Biologists have completely quit using common sense when making regulation decisions. Iím all for wildlife research, however common sense and public perception need to come into play. Since the beginning of time it has been illegal to harvest hen pheasants. Guarantee there wasnít a research study used to justify that regulation. It just makes sense. The turkey harvest in my county has declined nearly 70 percent from our peak. Large blocks have none or next to zero turkey.
Iím not saying that stopping the harvest of hens will cure the decline. Iím saying itís logical not to kill hens when the population is steadily declining.
MDC refuses to acknowledge predation as a cause of decline as well.
Then they want to double the length of the season by going to all day hunting when the population is in serious long term decline.
We need hook and bullet biologists and administrators again.