Today is June 11th (my birthday). It’s the first time I remember hearing multiple gobblers on my birthday in southern Missouri. Gobblers were rattling the hills this morning. I love the sound of gobblers, but I’m saddened at why I’m hearing multiple gobblers this time of year. This is an indication of failed turkey nesting success during the normal time requiring an extended breeding season. An extended breeding season requires much more energy and increases the amount of time turkeys are very vulnerable to predators. Gobbling and strutting activities means toms are not fully alert to predators. Hens are very vulnerable to predators while nesting.
I strongly suspect an abundance of predators contributed to the amount of nest failure that apparently occurred this spring. The National Weather Service reports 2.5” more than normal rain occurred during May in my neighborhood. There were no major flood events, etc. We simply had a few more showers. There have been years when conditions were much worse. These years occurred during a time when Missouri’s turkey population was much higher.
Many states allow trapping and predator control during fawning/nesting season. Missouri doesn’t. My traps are in the barn and predators are removing turkeys. There is no shortage of raccoons throughout most regions. It is well published that Missouri’s turkey population has declined in recent years. It seems to me something is out of balance.
Certainly the past few springs have not been ideal nesting conditions due to rainy and cold weather. However, I don’t think predator control should be totally discounted. I understand predator/prey relationships and cycles. I spend the vast majority of my time creating quality habitat including nesting and brooding habitat. I always recommend land owners focus the majority of their resources on habitat management.
With that said, I’m saddened more states don’t permit predator management during the nesting/fawning seasons. It’s simply a tool for wildlife management. It is not a cure, and has limited value without first developing quality habitat. However, it is a tool that shouldn’t be taken away.
I’m not a quail hunter, but I really enjoy hearing quail. I’ve yet to hear a single quail this spring at my place. I have literally 1,000’s of trail camera images of raccoons, opossums, coyotes, and bobcats that were taken during the past month. My family would rather hear a turkey or quail than see an opossum. How about yours?
Growing Deer together,