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#6238066 - 03/27/16 11:04 AM east texas turkey
huntindude Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 885
Loc: Trinity county
in trinity county was walking out to hunt hogs. Rounded a corner and spotted my first wild turkey in east Texas. It had a band on one of his legs. Got to within 20 feet before he saw us. Petty cool.

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#6238078 - 03/27/16 11:13 AM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
Yep..They just completed a super stocking that they started last year out that way. I think they released about 44 in Trinity county last year, and probably around 40 more back in February. The few birds they released last year had a pretty good hatch last spring..
_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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#6238152 - 03/27/16 12:47 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
Cajunshooter Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 04/22/15
Posts: 28
I think this is extremely interesting me! I would love to find out I have some turkeys roosting on my place in Leon county. A couple weeks ago I had a couple of wildlife biologists up there touring the property with me and one of them swore he saw a turkey run into the brush a ways up a hill.

I thought it wasn't possible for them to reproduce in east Tx because of the fire ants?
_________________________

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#6238249 - 03/27/16 03:40 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
Gamblinman Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 629
Loc: Yantis, TX
Except for maybe some very select areas, turkeys can survive and reproduce in East Texas. I think the main issue was the small amount of birds they stocked with originally. Between natural predation and natural cause of death, the turkeys never had a chance. These new stockings have many more birds, giving them a real chance to establish and expand.
If they can just get a couple of good hatches to start, we'll be seeing more East Texas turkeys soon.

Gman
_________________________

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#6238438 - 03/27/16 07:40 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: Cajunshooter]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
A lot of people think fire ants are the culprits keeping turkey numbers down, but fire ants can be found all across the south and there are high numbers of turkeys in many of those places. The main problem responsible for low turkey numbers is insufficient habitat.

Turkeys were once plentiful in most of east Texas and after market hunting thinned most of them out, the timber industry cut most of the old growth timber and most of east Texas grew back thick and nothing like it once did. Forests wasn't properly managed for years and fire was suppressed causing things to grow back pretty thick which is the east Texas most of us know now. Turkeys fall prey to predators much easier in thick unmanaged forest and brood meadow like bugging habitat for poults is scarce.

Early restocking efforts were tried and the majority of those small numbers of birds released in block stocking fell prey to predators and didn't take well in most areas. The new super stocking method releases a large number of birds in the best habitat and allows them to travel water ways into new livable territory. This method has proven successful over the last few years and today there is actually a larger number of of landowners as well as timber companies that focus more on forest management practices that benefit wildlife, so you will start to see more birds in east Texas in the coming years.

Those birds in Trinity county were released near White Rock...there are plans to continue stocking birds in east Texas each winter for the next several years.

Originally Posted By: Cajunshooter
I think this is extremely interesting me! I would love to find out I have some turkeys roosting on my place in Leon county. A couple weeks ago I had a couple of wildlife biologists up there touring the property with me and one of them swore he saw a turkey run into the brush a ways up a hill.

I thought it wasn't possible for them to reproduce in east Tx because of the fire ants?
_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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#6239416 - 03/28/16 05:08 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
huntindude Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 885
Loc: Trinity county
Our place is on little white rock creek. So they came a pretty good distance. Very interesting to know.

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#6239487 - 03/28/16 06:15 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
flintknapper Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 888
Loc: Deep East Texas
Saw a single hen under a feeder just two weeks ago (Nacogdoches County). I haven't seen a bird on this property in 15 years.

I am glad to see TP&W actually selecting GOOD property to put the birds on this time. Because it will be a challenge for them to survive even under excellent conditions.

I don't know about all of East Texas but I can tell you that much of DEEP EAST TEXAS is far from ideal habitat.

Consider too.... all of the animals/reptiles that prey on the eggs and young of ground nesting birds:

Rat-snakes
Feral Hogs
Raccoon
Coyote
Fox
Possum
Skunks
Bobcat
Hawks
Crows

We have all these things in abundance on our property, neighbors do too.

Fire ants are the least of their worry.
_________________________
Spartans ask not...how many, but where!

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#6239657 - 03/28/16 08:07 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: flintknapper]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
All these same predators are found in just about every other southern state from east TX to GA and they still manage to keep a decent turkey population. Most other states eastern turkey restoration programs were similar to the super stocking that we're doing here now with larger numbers of birds. When it was started in Texas there was fewer birds released at each site and there are a large number of birds lost in the first year after release. If you release 3 toms and 12 hens and something happens to the toms..well you get nowhere. Let alone the number of hens that die during nesting season. That why if half die in a super stocking you still have a lot of birds to reproduce.

I actually hunt deep east Texas and have been successful the past 2 years...and that success was on public land. I know of a few pockets where bird numbers are pretty decent, but in the last couple of years there have been birds starting to show up in places they haven't been seen in years, so I think things are getting better.

As turkey numbers increase and the birds travel the water ways like the Neches, White Rock, Trinity and other rivers and creeks, they will colonize the areas of deep east Texas with suitable habitat, which is one of the strategies of super stocking....letting the bird numbers increase and expand in prime areas along rivers and creeks so they can move into new territory. You'd be surprised at where they can and can't live..a turkey is a pretty hardy birds that can thrive in tough conditions.

Originally Posted By: flintknapper


I don't know about all of East Texas but I can tell you that much of DEEP EAST TEXAS is far from ideal habitat.

Consider too.... all of the animals/reptiles that prey on the eggs and young of ground nesting birds:

Rat-snakes
Feral Hogs
Raccoon
Coyote
Fox
Possum
Skunks
Bobcat
Hawks
Crows

We have all these things in abundance on our property, neighbors do too.

Fire ants are the least of their worry.

_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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#6239879 - 03/28/16 10:36 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
Txduckman Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 11719
Loc: Big D
Seems like they need to release more birds, way more but that costs money. I have hunted some in East Texas and the habitat seems great even close to the 35 line but you need a lot of birds to start with. Predators and fire ants are everywhere. The rios know not to nest on a fire ant mound just fine.

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#6239882 - 03/28/16 10:43 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: Tjack28]
trash2 Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/01/12
Posts: 331
Originally Posted By: Tjack28


I actually hunt deep east Texas and have been successful the past 2 years...and that success was on public land.

[/quote]

Must be difficult with the information younget.

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#6239949 - 03/29/16 12:00 AM Re: east texas turkey [Re: trash2]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
Not really..just took time coupled with my own research and scouting over the years. I just used the information that's out there and available to anyone looking and put in the work until I found what I was looking for. There are plenty of others who do the same thing and have had success...

Originally Posted By: trash2
Originally Posted By: Tjack28


I actually hunt deep east Texas and have been successful the past 2 years...and that success was on public land.



Must be difficult with the information younget. [/quote]
_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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#6239959 - 03/29/16 12:30 AM Re: east texas turkey [Re: Txduckman]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
Yea it costs but that's what your upland game bird stamps pay for along with funds from gun/ammo sales and also funds raised at NWTF banquets. The funds are there...just need more management minded landowners managing their places for turkey and working with their neighbors to form co-ops if they don't already have 10,000 acres of habitat, which is the minimum for consideration of a turkey release.

There's a member of this forum who got together with his neighbors and started a co-op of 10,900+ acres in Anderson county that will be stocked next winter as soon as trapped birds are available. He's been managing his place for years and is now teaching his neighbors and they've established some beautiful habitat for the birds.

Anyone who like hunting turkeys and would like to see more birds in east Texas should support your local NWTF chapter. While TPWD pays the $525 per bird cost, NWTF state chapter pays for the transport/shipment of the birds. There is actually a special fundraiser about to begin to help raise funds for turkey restoration in east Texas. Some of you may find this pretty interesting and hopefully some will support...check out the link below
2,180 Mile Hike for Conservation


Originally Posted By: Txduckman
Seems like they need to release more birds, way more but that costs money. I have hunted some in East Texas and the habitat seems great even close to the 35 line but you need a lot of birds to start with. Predators and fire ants are everywhere. The rios know not to nest on a fire ant mound just fine.
_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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#6245614 - 04/02/16 03:28 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: huntindude]
BDB Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 333
I saw my first east Tx wild turkey in the mid-late 90's. I was deer hunting one evening and saw a group of about 6 or so. They looked jet black in those woods. Not going to name the area but it was along a major creek that feeds the Red and no it was not Red River county (but close) I have not hunted eastern's for about 5 years now but I've taken 4 over the years. Should have more but hey we all screw up some. There are plenty of birds in this area. I know of some public that I can go to and I have NEVER seen another turkey hunter back in there. I guess its to far of a walk. Glad to hear there expanding again.

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#6245902 - 04/02/16 08:52 PM Re: east texas turkey [Re: Tjack28]
flintknapper Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 888
Loc: Deep East Texas
Originally Posted By: Tjack28
All these same predators are found in just about every other southern state from east TX to GA and they still manage to keep a decent turkey population. Most other states eastern turkey restoration programs were similar to the super stocking that we're doing here now with larger numbers of birds. When it was started in Texas there was fewer birds released at each site and there are a large number of birds lost in the first year after release. If you release 3 toms and 12 hens and something happens to the toms..well you get nowhere. Let alone the number of hens that die during nesting season. That why if half die in a super stocking you still have a lot of birds to reproduce.

I actually hunt deep east Texas and have been successful the past 2 years...and that success was on public land. I know of a few pockets where bird numbers are pretty decent, but in the last couple of years there have been birds starting to show up in places they haven't been seen in years, so I think things are getting better.

As turkey numbers increase and the birds travel the water ways like the Neches, White Rock, Trinity and other rivers and creeks, they will colonize the areas of deep east Texas with suitable habitat, which is one of the strategies of super stocking....letting the bird numbers increase and expand in prime areas along rivers and creeks so they can move into new territory. You'd be surprised at where they can and can't live..a turkey is a pretty hardy birds that can thrive in tough conditions.

Originally Posted By: flintknapper


I don't know about all of East Texas but I can tell you that much of DEEP EAST TEXAS is far from ideal habitat.

Consider too.... all of the animals/reptiles that prey on the eggs and young of ground nesting birds:

Rat-snakes
Feral Hogs
Raccoon
Coyote
Fox
Possum
Skunks
Bobcat
Hawks
Crows

We have all these things in abundance on our property, neighbors do too.

Fire ants are the least of their worry.




Sounds to me like a 'ratio' problem then, (3 Toms to 12 Hens)?

IF they 'super stock' at the same ratio (but just put down more birds) and assuming the predator base stays the same, it will just take more time for the population to fail, right? Somehow that seems an exercise in futility?

Surely, that can't be the answer! I agree with stocking them on the BEST habitat to be found in order to give them the best chance of survival.

Just hoping to put down more birds than predators can kill (short term) had better be a decision that was made after MUCH study of the area/land where the birds are to be released.

Of course... other factors are at play as well, (rainfall, weather, etc).

Let's face it...there are places in Deep East Texas you could dump a C-130 transport full of Turkeys and none would be alive 2 years from now.

I'm not sure the 'Eastern' is necessarily the best bird for all areas being stocked either, but I guess we will see.

Question: Were previous (failed) efforts the result of budgetary restrictions or lack of knowledge of the part of TP&W?
_________________________
Spartans ask not...how many, but where!

Top
#6246171 - 04/03/16 09:34 AM Re: east texas turkey [Re: flintknapper]
Tjack28 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Houston, TX
I grew up in east Texas and have hunted just about every part of it over the years from northeast to southeast, so I know what type of habitat is there. I've hunted some of the thickest nastiest stuff out there to the beautiful open mature forest, so I it's no secret to me as to what's out there. Actually the further east you go the more comparable it is to places like LA, MS, and AL and all those places have turkey. There are always going to be pockets where you won't have turkey's due to habitat issues, but that's in every state that have a turkey population.

This method has been studied for years before it was actually implemented on several test sites in Texas and proved successful. Same thing can be said for other states that have released birds in the past using this same method and have now had healthy turkey populations for years, so I'm not understanding the why it has to fail because this nothing can thrive in east Texas mindset. What sets deep east Texas apart from other southeastern states with the same habitat, predators, poachers, weather and everything else. An eastern turkey is about the only turkey that can thrive in east Texas because that's the type of habitat they evolved in...although it's a lot different than what it was over 100 years ago.

Anyway, I'm confident and hopeful just as most of those who have been working on the project for years. You can learn from trial and error and there's a lot that has been learned over the years with a conglomeration of research and findings from various wildlife agencies, Universities and other partners from multiple states to know that this is the right method to take. We will see more turkey in east Texas in the coming years and they will be seen in areas you'll be surprised to find them.


Originally Posted By: flintknapper
Originally Posted By: Tjack28
All these same predators are found in just about every other southern state from east TX to GA and they still manage to keep a decent turkey population. Most other states eastern turkey restoration programs were similar to the super stocking that we're doing here now with larger numbers of birds. When it was started in Texas there was fewer birds released at each site and there are a large number of birds lost in the first year after release. If you release 3 toms and 12 hens and something happens to the toms..well you get nowhere. Let alone the number of hens that die during nesting season. That why if half die in a super stocking you still have a lot of birds to reproduce.

I actually hunt deep east Texas and have been successful the past 2 years...and that success was on public land. I know of a few pockets where bird numbers are pretty decent, but in the last couple of years there have been birds starting to show up in places they haven't been seen in years, so I think things are getting better.

As turkey numbers increase and the birds travel the water ways like the Neches, White Rock, Trinity and other rivers and creeks, they will colonize the areas of deep east Texas with suitable habitat, which is one of the strategies of super stocking....letting the bird numbers increase and expand in prime areas along rivers and creeks so they can move into new territory. You'd be surprised at where they can and can't live..a turkey is a pretty hardy birds that can thrive in tough conditions.

Originally Posted By: flintknapper


I don't know about all of East Texas but I can tell you that much of DEEP EAST TEXAS is far from ideal habitat.

Consider too.... all of the animals/reptiles that prey on the eggs and young of ground nesting birds:

Rat-snakes
Feral Hogs
Raccoon
Coyote
Fox
Possum
Skunks
Bobcat
Hawks
Crows

We have all these things in abundance on our property, neighbors do too.

Fire ants are the least of their worry.




Sounds to me like a 'ratio' problem then, (3 Toms to 12 Hens)?

IF they 'super stock' at the same ratio (but just put down more birds) and assuming the predator base stays the same, it will just take more time for the population to fail, right? Somehow that seems an exercise in futility?

Surely, that can't be the answer! I agree with stocking them on the BEST habitat to be found in order to give them the best chance of survival.

Just hoping to put down more birds than predators can kill (short term) had better be a decision that was made after MUCH study of the area/land where the birds are to be released.

Of course... other factors are at play as well, (rainfall, weather, etc).

Let's face it...there are places in Deep East Texas you could dump a C-130 transport full of Turkeys and none would be alive 2 years from now.

I'm not sure the 'Eastern' is necessarily the best bird for all areas being stocked either, but I guess we will see.

Question: Were previous (failed) efforts the result of budgetary restrictions or lack of knowledge of the part of TP&W?
_________________________
T. Jackson
NWTF, Harris County Wildlife Group
P.O. Box 91227
Houston, TX 77088
http://nwtf-harris-county-wildlife-group.webs.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Harris-County-Wildlife-Group/111234152254353

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