Raccoons and Turkeys

By GrowingDeer,

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Dear Grant,

My property consists of about 400 acres of hardwood swamp bottom in southeast Virginia.  In 15 years of hunting this property I have killed two gobblers during spring.  Each fall our food plots are covered with large flocks of hens and a few gobblers here and there.  When spring arrives they are nowhere to be found.  No sign in the woods and definitely no vocalizations.  I watched your segment last year on trapping raccoons and the potential effects they can have on turkey populations (GDTV 10).  After seeing this I took it upon myself to do a raccoon trapping survey which I started this winter.  During bow season it was not uncommon to see 5 to 9 raccoons on their feet at dusk from the stand.  This leads me to believe our property has a serious raccoon population which may have altered the nesting habits of hens in the spring.  Do you feel that this could be possible or is my theory going out on a bit of a limb?  Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and take care!



Raccoons and other predators can certainly reduce the number of eggs and poults that survive significantly!  For that reason alone I trap raccoons at The Proving Grounds.  However, I’m not sure a high raccoon population explains why all turkeys would leave your property during the spring.  I suspect there may be other factors.  For example, is there better nesting and brooding habitat on the neighboring properties?  If that’s the case, especially if it’s been that way for years, then I suspect the hens have developed a pattern of leaving your property during the spring and the gobblers simply follow them.  I suggest you aggressively trap raccoons and other predators and inventory the nesting and brooding habitat on your and the neighboring properties.  By addressing both of these, I strongly suspect the quality of the turkey hunting at your place will improve.

Growing Deer together,