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Letters To The Editor April 2019

Reader Contributed | April 1, 2019

Coyotes No. 1 Problem With Georgia’s Turkey    

Dear GON,

I’m writing in response to Daryl Kirby’s editorial on the crash of the Georgia turkey.

I personally know about the rise and fall. I was with DNR as area manager of a large WMA and saw the rise in the turkey population.

I was in on the restocking program and enjoyed the opportunity of using the cannon net on my WMA. Restocking birds across Georgia was enjoyable, fun and beneficial.

The Georgia trappers got kicked out of a living and the fox, bobcat and coon populations benefited.

But your major problem is the coyote. There aren’t enough good trained coyote trappers in the world to curb the smartest, slickest critter in the state of Georgia.

Bob Watson, Cochran

Few Hardwoods = Fewer Turkeys    

Dear GON,

Regarding a decline in the Georgia turkey population, I think it can be summed up simply: inevitable logging. 

Deer are adaptable to deforestation, but turkeys are not. Our real problem is removal of mature hardwoods. Turkeys need large, stable, unbroken tracts of hardwoods. What landowners do to surrounding properties impacts your property. Turkeys will continue to use a clearcut for a year or two, but when those cuts get thick, those areas become useless to turkeys. I’ve seen this happen numerous times. 

Hunters are shooting fewer turkeys because there are fewer birds, but that’s because Georgia now has less prime turkey habitat year upon year, and after decades of hardwood removal, we’re seeing the negative impacts. 

One additional thing. Keep in mind that a hen turkey only needs to mate once to fertilize all her eggs, and because gobblers are promiscuous, they can and will mate multiple hens each year, ensuring a constant rate of hen mating success. I doubt that removing 16,000 to 25,000 gobblers a year (Georgia’s harvest) has any impact on the mating success rate of hens. The reduction in turkey numbers is because less habitat is resulting in an overall smaller turkey population. We’re seeing fewer turkeys because their prime habitat is going away.

Dan Suiter, Ph.D., Griffin

GON Facebook
Angela Sosebee sent us this picture of her son Chase Elliott, of Commerce, with a Jackson County largemouth he caught.

GON Instagram
Libby Tippens, of Putnam County, with her first deer with a bow. She killed it Sept. 8 at 9:20 a.m.

GON Forum
GON Forum member “Possum” posted this picture on the Forum on March 16 and said, “Little man (John Lee, 9, of Clarkesville) got his first gobbler this morning in Wilkes County. Same spot he got his first deer back in October. Hens flew in followed by three strutting longbeards. Made a great 25-yard shot with his sister’s 20 gauge.” John is Woody Coffee’s great grandson. Woody started Woody’s Taxidermy Campfire Talk (also known now as the GON Forum) in 2000.

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