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Where Did My Turkeys Go?


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Hey guys,

My dad owns 84 acres just outside of Brockport and for the last 5 years it has been something of a turkey Mecca. I am not super experienced but I hold my own in the turkey world. For the last four years we have put down trophy birds and have had to try hardly at all to get them to gobble and come running.

However I did notice last year that the gobbling was sparser and the turkey seemed much quiter in general. They also moved off of the traditional roost site. I thought nothing of it due to the mild winter we had.

Lo and behold I get out there at 5:15 this morning and moved all around the property until 9:30. Didn't hear one peep out of a bird and didn't find any roosting sign. All I found were a few tracks and some droppings. Is it possible that the birds moved off of the property? Am I missing something? How could such a turkey rich environment go from tons of birds to hardly any sign at all?

Help!

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Have had a similar experience on my property in Chenango County, NY.  54 acres surrounded by a couple thousand acres of state land. Have owned the property for 14 years and initially, couldn't do anything wrong and shot some nice birds but over the past few years, fewer and fewer turkeys, and this season, not even a gobble.  What I have found though is a number of pictures of Fishers on my trail cams, which a local wildlife expert told me will take turkeys right off the roost at night.  So, with an area with a large population of coyotes, now fishers, along with the hawks, foxes, and now martins, turkeys are not surviving and replenishing like they were several years ago.  Not sure if it is the whole reason, but something has sure decimated the turkey population around me.  Even the gray squirrels are gone, which use to number in the hundreds. 

Edited by ReelLaxing
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That sucks about your population decline. I know the turkey populations near me are fine, I just worry that the birds have moved on. I am sure it's just a bad morning though and things will pick up.

Sounds like I may need to do some preemptive predator hunting though, so as to avoid the situation you described.

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I think the bird populations are down in Monroe county townships......don't really understand the reason, but I know we didn't bump that many when hound hunting coyotes this winter... It's the second year I've noticed the decline... Wet Spring in '12 & '13? Too many predators? Too many hunters? Who knows? I'd be interested to know what guys think about a 1 bird limit? or maybe 1 bird 5/1 - 5/15 and 1 bird 5/16 - 5/31...??? Plenty of squirrels where I hunt, but definitely not as many turkeys as 5 - 10 years ago...... I'd support a 1 bird limit.

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i guess it wasn't me. I have 56 acres in the parma/Hilton area and went out Thursday morning for the opener as usual. only heard one gobbler on the roost and for about an hour longer. then bang, and my neighbor probably got him. after that only saw 2 hens. the worst I have seen it in over 10 yrs. thought maybe it was the tough winter or coyote problem. saw plenty of turkeys last fall but a unusual amount of coyotes also while deer hunting. was out sunday evening checking things out and saw only 4 turkeys 3 hens and the tom that probably was shot in one group. the thing is I also counted 17 deer, the most I have ever counted on the property at one time. so the bad winter/coyotes   didn't hurt them any. I don't get it but do know they aren't on that block as usual. I've never got skunked for the may season but am not very confident this yr.

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That's interesting. Went out tonight around the perimeter of my property and did some hard cutting. Tried to put some birds to bed and got nada in return. Guess I am hoping for the best in the AM. I hope this lack of gobbling thing is just related to the low pressure system and they are just sneaking around quietly.

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The turkey have been declining for yrs now. There no hard evidence just guessing y its happing. Im done hunting them as im tagged out with longbeards. Best of luck to everyone

Sent from my C771 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Lots of reasons.  Your hunting success taking birds.  Food patterns......find what they are eating, if you do not have left over mast on the ground, they may have to hunt and peck in fields.  Coyotes, foxes, and more importantly egg robbing raccoons and opossum.  We have noticed our turkey population increasing with the culling of approx. 30 Raccoons, 5 opossum, and 4 coyotes. 

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At my place in upstate PA  the hens were out in the field feeding at 6 AM. until 9 then returned to the field at 5 PM.  The gobblers wouldn't leave the hens or even answer my calls. Even the 3 jakes just hung around on the perimeter of the flock. In a week or two I hope the hens nest and the gobblers start looking around. To keep turkeys on my land I had to set up a automatic feeder because the Fed. Gov bought the bottom land  for a flood control dam and it is no longer farmed. I just shut it off 3 weeks before the season and don't hunt near it. But  it really made a difference on the deer and turkey populations on my land. The downside is that I have to keep a solar powered electrified fence wire around the feeder to keep the bear from destroying it again.

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At my place in upstate PA  the hens were out in the field feeding at 6 AM. until 9 then returned to the field at 5 PM.  The gobblers wouldn't leave the hens or even answer my calls. Even the 3 jakes just hung around on the perimeter of the flock. In a week or two I hope the hens nest and the gobblers start looking around.

 

This is kinda what I am seeing in the Southern Tier.  Guy I know got one opening morning.  He used a fall technique.  He knew he had only one chance cause He was henned up tight and walking away so he tried to spook them hard as to break them up and then called them back in a half hour.  I never would have thought that would work but the other alternative is to stalk which is what another guy I know did to get his Tom.  I can't get much of anything to look my way.  I do not know about population declines.  I saw pretty near 100 turkeys at one time on one farm (my family) this year.  The following week there was only sign of 2 birds.  I think they move around in the winter and then spread out again in the spring.  I am hopeful that the end of the month will be better.  I don't like coyotes either.  Did anyone mention bobcats? 

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Predators, Too many of them. Shoot all of em!!!! This year i noticed the birds are in different areas in years past. Hopefully you see more birds in late season! Good luck! My problem this weekend was too many birds! i called in 2 gobblers but had 3 jakes bust me at 10 yards behind me, came in silent and gobbled right behind me. Smart birds! Good luck to all hunters......As far as brockport goes, i hunted the area opening day and didnt hear a shot or a gobble. 

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If you have fox or coyotes they will leave in a hurry.  I had a neighbor walking and pushing birds off my property one year he started before the season and I didn't see a single male and only 2 females.

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i'm in brockport to. the farm behind my place on 31 has been quiet. 27 acres, nobody has permission to hunt it. i'v e seen a few birds here and there. tried calling a bit without a gun. nada. i don't have private land to hunt. seen plenty of birds driving on 31. the birds seem to stay around for a few days , then move off. 

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Just heard a rumor, but the sources are very reliable. I Hunt out on the west side a lot, and rumor has it that HURD farms has shot over 100 deer in the last year with nuisance tags. Bucks, Does, Fawn....everything. Just leaving them to lie and rot in fields. The DEC is aware of this now and not much action has been taken. Hopefully the surrounding land owners will start to fight the state and DEC and make some changes. Just because you own a farm doesn't mean you can slaughter every deer in the area. My guess is they might even shoot turkeys to protect their fruit trees. 

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May be a little late to the post but we had a similar problem last year at our grounds in wny. Previous years we would hear several birds gobblin at some point and see plenty throughout the year. Last season me and my dad heard a combined 3 gobbles during the season and saw 1 hen. This season we have been chasing birds everywhere again and have heard plenty of talking. So maybe its just the weather, pressure, coyotes, the poor hatch from last year or any of the other mentioned factors. Just my thoughts

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  • 2 weeks later...

No doubt less birds gobbling in Allegany County this spring. I lucked out and scored a Jake the 1st weekend been down several times since then calling hiking...Nada plenty of Coyote and now bear tracks

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I live in N. E.Pa. and noticed a huge decline in bird populations, So I started to take a closer look. I heard that disease is affecting the birds along with overabundance of predation. Last year while trapping yotes I caught a ridiculous amount of possum, and coon( which all were dispatched) they have a huge appetite for eggs. Along with a wet spring does not help either for laying hens. This spring seems better, but only seeing inmature males,this being said I decided not to hunt at all. Hoping that the jakes live long enough to reach maturity, Which really sucks! But at my place the deer herd is doing well using some of the above princibles,shoot does instead of young bucks. Foodplots and cover, and kill every yote possible! (trapping or hunting) Do more fishing! Just my 2 cents-

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I am officially calling it quits this May.  I don't mind not shooting them but not hearing them is unacceptable and to think i decided to chase turkeys instead of crappies is starting agitate me a little bit right now.  I still believe there are a lot of birds.  I think the hens still have their undivided attention.  I will wait till fall to cry shinanigans.  I usually get an accurate flock assessment at this time.  Spring they are all spread out.

 

I know one guy who had a good season and had a good time calling them in but a lot of other seasoned people whom I trust to do well had difficulties.  Oh well...  That is how it goes.

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Actually just got in from our land.in Almond and heard one at last light only sounded once to a.Barred owl rippin away way up the hill above us. Heard another way off state land . Maybe they are firing late this year?

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