Balancing Nest PredatorsJanuary 23rd, 2015 by Daniel Mallette
Over the past months, early mornings have been spent in the stand, but now we get to enjoy mornings through another activity, the trap line. As I have checked traps the past few mornings, my blood has raced, hearing the year’s first turkeys begin to gobble. These moments remind me that trapping is a great management tool for turkey and other wildlife.
Last week Adam shared how Duke #4 traps are reducing our larger predators, but we are also removing many smaller predators known as nest predators. Nest predators are animals that feed on the eggs of quail, pheasant, turkey and other species. These predators can do a lot of damage very quickly. Imagine a large raccoon waddling up to a turkey nest finding several delicious eggs sitting there. It’s an easy meal that instantly removes several eggs that may have hatched. As a wildlife manager, I want to do my part to help as many eggs hatch this year, and the trap line can do just that.
We began setting out Duke cage and dog proof traps last month. These traps are easy to set and are very effective for catching smaller predators. We have already removed 32 nest predators from The Proving Grounds. Once removed these predators will be replaced by others, so we trap every year, to continuously help balance nest predator/prey populations. That means each year we have reduced the number of raccoons and opossums from eating turkey eggs that spring.
If you are interested in learning how to begin trapping, to reduce your nest predators, check out GrowingDeer.tv episodes #265 and #266. I hope you get the opportunity to do some trapping or other management projects this week. It will be worth it in the end.
Managing whitetails with you,