Letters To The Editor – April 2021
GON Staff | April 5, 2021
In Support Of Tightening Turkey Hunting Regulations?
I’m one of the majority who supports a change of regulations for turkey hunting. I believe that of the proposed changes mentioned in the March issue that decreasing the bag limit to two gobblers and allowing only one in the first 10 days is the way to go.
However, I also believe there needs to be of an emphasis on other means of increasing the overall turkey population—namely predator control and habitat management. When viable nesting habitat is destroyed, it makes for easier predation. We have seen past initiatives to provide better nesting habitat for other species, such as quail and ducks. Now I believe it’s time to do the same for turkeys. Private landowners should be encouraged to do more predator control through trapping, as well.
The answer to the declining turkey population is not an easy one, and I applaud DNR for seeking input from sportsmen on the best ways to manage the situation. However, I believe it’s going to take more than changing hunting regulations to see a significant rebound.
Mark Williams, Blackshear
Editor’s Note: To see the newly released proposed turkey hunting regulations, turn to page 14. Also, just to clarify, the Mark Williams who submitted the above letter is not the same Mark Williams who is the current commissioner of DNR.
Turkey Proposal Would Cut Out Best Part Of Hunting Season
So here we are four decades into turkey hunting in Georgia, and we have a revelation that hunting season may just be disrupting the mating and nesting of wild turkeys? Pushing the season back two or three weeks is basically taking the most productive part of hunting season away from hunters.
I do not think a solution to the problem is that simple. If it is that simple, then the state should just close the season for two springs and let the turkey population explode statewide. I do not feel manipulating the season for legitimate hunters by taking the most productive part of the season is fair to the turkey hunters.
I believe there are other reasons for the decline, things like the never-ending destruction of old growth forest and the conversion of Georgia to one huge row crop pine orchard, the increased use of herbicides in forest management, late and even very late growing-season burns, and the continued fragmentation of land mixed with urban sprawl and habitat loss.
I have wondered why there has been no discussion of eliminating afternoon turkey hunting, removing the last two weeks of the turkey season or maybe outlawing decoy use. Those small changes would do as much or more than some of the other options currently on the table.
In addition, there’s been no study that I know of to see if there is a correlation between the turkey population drop and legalized deer baiting. I commonly watch turkeys approach feeders at set times during the day and commonly see coyotes stalking the same feeders. Mix that buffet setting with possible tainted feed and diseases, and you have a disaster in the making. I have no data to back it up but cannot help but notice that as deer baiting increased, our turkey population decreased. There may be no correlation, but it’s worth a look.
I have noticed the decline in turkeys in my home county and do wish we could get to the bottom of it. I feel it’s a multifaceted problem that must be addressed, but I disagree with taking the best part of hunting season away from those who invest in it without looking into a deeper, more prominent probable cause than too much early season disruption.
Sidney Smith Jr., Talbotton,
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