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Velocityaddict 01-05-2009 06:20 AM

Turkey hurting the Deer population?
It is my uneducated thoery that the the turkey pop has hurt the deer pop alot over the last 3 to 4 years.

1) They eat the same stuff
2) They eat ALL OF IT!
3) They have increased the predator pop like Coyote,Bobcats, Fisher, and yes wolves and Mountain Lion. I have seen one Lion with my own eyes in south Addison Maine and others have also.

I usually hunt in my "back 40". This year not one rub line or even one track across my field. Another hunter did see a couple but the pop has to be down alot. The DIFW say its because of the hard winter. I dont buy it one bit. I killed a Bobcat right beside my barn I assume it was eyeballing my chickens. I have a 4 year old son and this animal was large enough to take a deer if it wanted to. I have another story about the turkeys and bobcats but I dont type very well so I will save it for another day.

I would like to see an open season on turkey just like the coyote season here in Maine. I would also like to here your piont of views on this.


Velocityaddict 01-05-2009 06:25 AM

Oh yeah I put turkey in the same class as Porcupines and skunks. Pest animals!
I dont see the thrill in hunting them. Unless I was sniping them from a couple hundred yards with a 17 or 22 something.

faucettb 01-05-2009 06:28 AM

Here in Idaho our turkey populations are just plain exploding. When I bought the place I live in here in Peck we had turkeys in the yard every day. The Idaho Fish and Game came in and Live-trapped 250 just above my place. I still hear them gobble often, but don't have them down in the yard every day.

As far as hurting the deer population, we still have loads of deer here. Our biggest problem is the vampire turkeys getting the deer. Every once in a while you'll drive by a deer with a couple of them fastened on their necks. You can beat them off with sticks, but then they go after you. Most of the folks here are putting cross shaped hood orniments on to keep them from attacking their trucks.

James Gates 01-05-2009 06:39 AM

While I do nor agree that turkey have hurt the deer population in the South East, there is no doubt in anyones mind that the explosion of wild hogs have....ti the extent that the deer have moved to different ranges. Most people do not understand the hog situation. A young female will breed at 6 months and each six monthes thereafter. This could easy be twenty pigs a year from one sow. if ten of her pigs are female, they in turn will breed at six months. It's not hard to see the relationship of wild hogs to deer on any range.
It's has been seen as a problem for some time down here. Most WMA's have opened small game seasons for wild hogs also (no size or number limit). This season runs in Florida from the first of Jan to the end of Feb.
Even with hunting all year long on private land....and from Sept to the end of the following Feb. bow, blackpowder, general season, and small game season)...the population is still gaining indeed. And, now we have ful size Python snakes in South Florida!
Regards, James

Regards, James

Velocityaddict 01-05-2009 06:45 AM

LMAO Thats funny

Turkey are relativly new here. maybe 20 years. Exploded ever the last ten or so. They are everywere. Its common to see flocks of 30 or so. The largest I have seen is like 100.

Velocityaddict 01-05-2009 06:49 AM

James That post was not for you. Your sutuation is not funny. I have heard alot about the pig problem in the south. I wish I could come down and shoot a few for you.


pruhdlr 01-05-2009 07:33 AM

Turkey's In Maine
Before I retired my last duty station was Brunswick. This was '82ish. I was the rangemaster at the military range in Topsham so I traveled between the base and there almost every day. That was at the time that the DIFW was just starting to reintrduce the turkey to southern Maine.

I remember seeing wild turkey on the side of the roads even back then. As time went by and I retired in '86 the turkey population grew very rapidly. At first there was a lottery to get a turkey tag and the area allowed to be hunted was southern Maine only. I helped the DIFW people set traps for them one year over in the Gray,New Gloucester area where I lived. They moved the trapped birds northward and towards the middle of the state,just south of Augusta.

After moving to the western mountains of Maine in early '87 we didn't see any turkeys at all up there. Then in (IIRC) '92ish we started seen a very few. I was guiding then, and was in the woods all the time, but only saw several.

The area allowed to be hunted steadily moved northward and finally there were more tags than people that put in for one. In '96 you could hunt turkey as far north as the middle part of the state. The population of turkey started to grow so that instead of one here and one there you saw flocks of 6-10 when you came upon them.

I have been gone from Maine now for 5+ years. But I have been hearing that turkey are everywhere,even in Jackman,Greenville,and Houlton.

Just like anything else(deer,hogs,elk) they have to be agressively managed. With the fox,mink,coyote,fisher,and bobcat,pelt prices down now,there are not many people that trap anymore. Plus,sadly,all the old time,expieranced trappers are dying off with no one to take their place.

Also,like grouse,the turkey population is controlled by a wet or dry spring. Lots of rain will drown the eggs and the chicks.

Maine has to closely watch and control the turkeys just like they do deer. Time to listen to the guides,trappers,biologists,wardens and the like. Forget what the bunny huggers say.(yeah,like that'll happen)-----pruhdlr

MAINER 01-05-2009 09:18 AM

The bug hunters (state hired experts) say turkeys don't hurt deer, which makes me think that turkeys must in fact impact deer populations. I agree with Velocity's reasoning in his thread starter.

I've seen turkeys above the Golden Rd. Never thought I'd be able to say that.

kdub 01-05-2009 10:55 AM

Dunno -

The turkey population in Texas is extremely healthy and so is the deer population. Can't see any adverse effects between the two there. :p

Velocityaddict 01-05-2009 11:43 AM

I dont know about Texas but here in Maine there is not much food for deer in the winter. The Deer are forced to eat alot of cedar if the snow is deep. Acorns and other ground forage gets totally eaten by the turkeys. If you have ever been in an area that has had a flock of 30 or 40 birds it looks like somone pulled all the leaves out from around the oaks and nothing is left. They are a Ferrel animal and should be treated as such just like pigs, european starling and a ton of others.


Irv S 01-05-2009 02:55 PM


Originally Posted by Velocityaddict (Post 396915)
They are a Ferrel animal and should be treated as such just like pigs, european starling and a ton of others.

Unlike pigs and starlings, turkeys are native to North America, not Feral. As a retired biologist (non-government) I don't believe they have a measurable impact on the deer population even though there is some overlap in food. Sure both eat acorns, but young turkeys also eat bugs (which deer don't) and deer are browsers (which turkeys aren't). Acorn crops are extremely variable from year to year and both species benefit in good years. The turkey population has also exploded in Pennsylvania, but the deer population there was decimated by over-harvest of does, not by the turkeys. The deer population where I hunt seems to have improved slightly this year in spite of the turkeys being more numerous than I've seen at any time in past years.

Velocityaddict 01-11-2009 03:24 AM

Irv S,
Thanks for the correction about them being a native animal. I dont believe they are native to my part of the country. What is your opinion of the predator population increasing? Another concern is with deep snow and a yote pop increase could be an issue correct? I suppose it would be a good excuse to get into the predator hunting more seriously. Never seriously hunted for yotes or cats except for oppourtunity kills while deer hunting or whatever.


Irv S 01-11-2009 03:02 PM

The situation in Maine is different than the situation in Pennsylvania. The snow in Pennsylvania (at least in the southern parts) generally is not deep or long lasting enough to cause winter yarding. Forty years ago Maine had problems with feral dogs killing deer when they were yarded up in winter. I suspect the coyotes there have taken over what the feral dogs were doing, particularly since the eastern coyotes are larger than the western ones. (note: I have not been in Maine for almost 30 years). Coyote predation on fawns has been shown to be detrimental to pronghorn populations in the west and they also take deer fawns when given the chance. There isn't a straight line (one to one) relationship between increased predation and decreased population level in a healthy animal population because of a phenomenon called "compensation" in which survival relative to other sources of mortality is increased, but the average population level will be lower. However, in a struggling population, a new or increased mortality (such as added predation) can be very detrimental. In Colorado I only occasionally shoot a coyote while hunting, but in Pennsylvania I try to kill every one I see. I think your coyote/deep snow concern is correct and a high coyote population will also reduce fawn survival.

I don't know what your wild turkey population is like in Maine, but there is generally no reason not to have at least a brief Gobbler only spring season during the time the hens are nesting. In polygamous species such as turkeys, deer, pheasants, etc. population dynamics depends on the females of a species. As long as there are sufficient males to fertilize the females the rest are excess and can be harvested without detriment to the population (unless one is trying to grow trophies). Most hunters have probably noticed that deer herds are led by old does, elk herds are led by old cows, turkey flocks are led by old hens - and the males just follow along behind.

MAINER 01-12-2009 04:12 PM

Irv S - To add to your comments about fawn survival. In the northern half of Maine fawn mortality is 90% in the summer. Most of them don't make it through their first few months of life. Bringing back the Spring bear hunt is not the only solution to this problem, but it sure would help.

jack j 03-09-2009 06:41 PM

I live in south NJ and in my area there are numerous amounts of Turkeys everywhere and the same goes for the Deer population.I have not seen any indication that too many Turkeys results in less Deer population.

winlegend 03-10-2009 07:57 PM

i live in southern ny my land runs on the penn border n i know what u are saying totaly. the dec here denies that there are red wolves and mtn lion here. but a few have fallen 2 manny a .44mag rounds for trying to and getting into the chicken coop. when the deer seem to disappear the turkeys are all over the place. but when the deer are around the turkeys arnt and neither are the lions n wolves. here at least it seems like the preadators are following the turkeys.during deer season we hadnt seen a deer but turkys were all over. the floor of the woods looked like someone tried to till the sno. then in muzzleloader season all the turkeys were gone but just a few deer were taken.try puting up a feeder they are cheap n corn and protien pellets are cheap too. also plant food plots if u can. its illegal to feed wildlife here and to shoot lions n wolves.the state dosent want to loose all those predators they spent all that money on to keep deer mva's down.{deer car accidents} wich we have a lot of round here.but we shoot em wehen we have to and just keep it not saying to break any laws tho. it is what it is and aint what it aint.shoot more birds too.

massbigbore44 06-14-2009 04:49 AM

I have read all of the posts regarding this issue in the Pine Tree State and I have to agree with much of what I read. It seems that the fish and game departments are more worried about what the insurance companies say, what the looney left $10 cup of coffee-tofu swilling crowd and the media have than the people who truly love the land and the animals that roam it.

Maine needs to reinstate it's snaring for coyotes program. To Hades with the Stop Snare organization. The deer need greater attention than some idiot who sits in downtown Portland looking over the bay. Bring back the snaring especially in areas hit hard by the past two winters.

Give real incentives for landowners to not cut down deer yards. Maine lost many of it's deer yards in the last thirty years or so. When my Dad was a young man he hunted Maine which had a 25% success rate. Now that is less than 10%. They also had twice as many deer yards. Maine gets winters where the snow is measured in feet. Many deer die. Two winters ago the Pine Tree State lost half it's northern herd.

Another factor is out of state landowners posting property. I suspect this is a response to the opening day reserved for residents only . Maybe a compromise of allowing landowners to hunt on that opening day may reverse the trend. Also, slash property taxes on landowners who do not post their land.

I love turkey hunting but I can understand the sentiment of them competing with deer for forage. Forage can be a tough issue the further north you travel. Right now Maine leads all of the New England states in it's turkey harvest.

imajeep 09-16-2009 07:45 AM

its fairly simple to see as far as i'm concerned.... While bowhunting, ive seen turkeys run does right out from under apple trees, not once or twice, but different turkeys and different does quite often.
the turkeys are territorial, and dont like competition.
im not impressed. dont get me wrong, i like a turkey every spring, but they are getting a little too common.

langenc 10-06-2009 04:52 PM

"" With the fox,mink,coyote,fisher,and bobcat,pelt prices down now,there are not many people that trap anymore.""

Didnt mention coon?? Any coon up that way. They love turkeys and eggs.
Many trappers will be setting out a couple seasons with fur prices tanking.
Coon only $2-$3, if nice hide and you are lucky.

dmsbandit 10-14-2009 08:27 AM

I would say the real reason is the coyotes, wolves, and cougars that are doing the damage. Here in NY the officials at ECON deny there are cougers or wolves in NY, but too many people have seen them to be wrong. I read that an adult cougar will eat 1 deer a week, and coyotes and wolves are worse yet.

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