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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Vermont turkey overpopulation?

My father was sitting in his stand the other night, when right before dark, he said a huge flock of turkeys came walking through the trees and roosted in a tree just a few yards away. We've seen a few feathers here and there, and maybe a single out in a field, but never really seen big #'s of them in the islands. He then told me he remembered seeing an article somewhere that the F&G is worried about the impact of the overpopulation of turkeys in Vermont.

Anyone know where that article is? Heck, I remember just a few years back we never saw them, then they have seemed to explode the last 10 years or so.

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I am not familiar with the

I am not familiar with the problem of turkey overpopulation. What is the fish and game's main worry with it? Is there a disease that can become rampant at higher population densities or is it more of a competition for resources deal? They can ship some of their birds out here if they want. I will not argue with them over it Yes . Is there any risk of property or crop loss to having an over abundance of turkies? Sorry guys, I guess I'm not really informed on the eastern turkey populations.

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I don't know what their

I don't know what their actual problem with it is.  I don't think there is any disease associated with a high wild turkey population.  lthough, there was a motorcyclist last year who was knocked unconscious when she was hit by a 20 pound turkey flying across the road.  Right now, not all counties have a fall hunt.  I think opening that statewide would be a start.

CVC
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Getting struck by a flying

Getting struck by a flying turkey would definitely hurt and is bad luck.  The issue in Kansas is that turkeys are destroying crops and are a nuiance on the roads.  More people are hitting turkeys and like deer they tend to be a problem in populated areas where hunting accessibllity is limited.

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Holy crap... the last thing I

Holy crap... the last thing I want flying into my face while I am riding a motorcycle is a wild turkey. The guy probably thought that bugs in his teeth were the most of his worries. A turkey flying into you at highway speed would not be a very pleasant experience. I hope that guy didn't get hurt all that bad but it seems like it would be pretty likely that you would get injured if that happened.

I can see crop damage being a pretty big deal with turkey populations that were too large. Hitting turkeys in a car, although it isn't a great experience, is not anything like hitting a deer. I would way rather hit a turkey than hit a deer.

CVC
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Definitely the lesser of the

Definitely the lesser of the two evils is hitting the turkey, but they can do some damage too.  Some people, like the guy on the bike just have some bad luck.  Of all the things to hit, a moose or elk has to be the worse.

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Crop damage is one complaint,

Crop damage is one complaint, I've responded to a farmer with special permits to remove turkeys from his farm, they will often have flocks of hundreds of birds scratching up newly planted oil seeds.

I debate whether the birds are an issue any more than they are at bird feeders, I usually had 20 under my bird feeders any given day until I gave up on them.

Another very loud cry is from upland hunters, expecailly grouse hunters, who blame declines in grouse on high turkey numbers.

The same people that say turkeys do NOT compete with grouse for foods blame hogs for competing with deer though, and if there ever was a bird version of a feral hog it would be the turkey.

My take on it is the turkey is a native bird to our land, unlike the pheasant, a nest parasite. And as native they have a place here.

If turkeys are overpopulated, Vermont has about 50,000 birds with only 3 units not open to fall hunting right now, then the populaiton has exploded due to lack of management of the forests.

Deer and grouse go hand in hand, both love regenerating forests, new cutovers and recently abandoned farmlands.

If you are kicking up grouse and bunnies you'll be tripping over deer as well, I know I was hunting them all in the boom days of the 60s here.

Now the  climax and mature forests that are taking over Vermont from lack of cutting is perfect habitat for bears and turkeys.

And we are seeing more of each, the turkeys have it made though because unlike bears they can live in the backyards of cul-de-sac neighborhoods and within the condo areas and not be blasted or chased out like bears are.

Grouse and Turkeys are like Moose and Deer, they both cannot exist in high numbers on the same lands, they simply are not compatible---not because one kills the other but because they need different habitat.

Moose increase because the habitat is becoming better suited to them than the deer, in areas, and turkeys are surviving in the new habitat of uncut mature climax forests where grouse simply can not live in numbers.

Killing moose won't give us more deer, and killing turkeys won't make better grouse cover.

We have tremendous turkey numbers, and growing, I would be interested in seeing if it is even possible to wipe them out if you wanted to.

Like coyotes, they are here to stay as long as the land is like it is and management is the way it is.

CVC
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Nice summary of the issues

Nice summary of the issues and perspective on the problem.

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Good post Simon.  My father

Good post Simon.  My father hunts in one of those 3 zones that does not have a fall season, and he had multiple occasions this rifle season where the darn things came stomping in and played around his stand.  They even roosted in a tree 25 yards from him one night.  I told him he needs to get out there in the spring.  He said they need a fall season.... lol

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