Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 5

the lowest level since prior to 1995, and the seventh consecutive year with an average below 0.60 turkeys/mi2. Even though the number of fall turkey hunters increased slightly (4 percent) from 2009 (163,433 and 156,752, respectively), days hunted (457,435) decreased 14 percent from 2009 (529,427). Hunter success in 2010 (10 percent) was 27 percent below 2009 (13 percent), and 35 percent below the previous 3-year average of 15 percent. Shorter seasons, below average recruitment and substantial mast crops (which tend to disperse flocks and make them more difficult to locate) accounted for the decreased harvest and hunter success. A turkey hunter survey was mailed to 10,000 hunters (4,470 usable returns received) after the fall 2010 season to determine hunter attitudes, satisfaction and daily participation with the new season structure. Results indicated that, at least with this initial survey year, we did not substantially recruit new turkey hunters nor reactivate former fall turkey hunters. Satisfaction with and participation in the new season segment during the Thanksgiving holiday were both relatively high, but the net decrease in season length decreased overall participation. The majority of participants were satisfied with their 2010 fall turkey hunting experience. Similar to trends observed nationally, available time, higher turkey populations and places to hunt are more important factors influencing fall turkey hunting participation than season structure. The Board approved extending the spring turkey season to May 31, to provide additional hunting recreation without impacting the resource, because with most hens in the later stages of nest incubation, disturbance of hens in late May is minimal. In 2010 this extra day accounted for four percent of the total statewide harvest. The halfday youth hunt on the Saturday prior to the regular season accounted for eight percent of the total statewide harvest, demonstrating the importance of this youth opportunity. The final 2010 spring harvest of 33,849 (31,908 plus 1,941 second birds by hunters who purchase an additional license) was 24 percent below the 2009 harvest of 44,639 (42,478 initial plus 2,161 second), and 18 percent below the previous 3-year average (41,149). The below average recruitment in 2009 may have accounted for the decreased harvest. Juvenile males (jakes) comprised only 10 percent of the spring 2010 harvest, half the average and the lowest level recorded. Similar to fall, the number of spring turkey hunters, 237,037, also increased from 228,903 in 2009, and was six percent higher than the previous 3-year average of 223,074. Hunter success, however, was lower (14 percent) than the previous 3-year average (18 percent). Highest hunter success was in 2001 at 21 percent. Results of the tri-state (New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania) gobbler harvest rate study, 2006-09, were accepted for publication into the Journal of Wildlife Management. We used leg band recovery models to estimate survival rates, and assess how harvest rates may be related to management strategies and landscape characteristics. We banded 3,266 male wild turkeys throughout the three states. The second year of a hen harvest and survival rate study is underway. Knowledge of fall harvest rates and annual survival rates will help us develop a more systematic and transparent process for determining fall turkey hunting season recommendations, which will allow for more explicit incorporation of uncertainty (spring weather, reproduction) into decision making and help us address the competing objectives of optimizing hunting recreation and turkey abundance. During fall 2010 and winter 2011, 425 female and 137 male turkeys were leg-banded, including 88 hens also marked with satellite transmitters. Total marked turkeys to date are 725 females (119 of these also received satellite transmitters) and 186 males. As of early June 2011, we were monitoring 33 hens with transmitters. The highest mortality rates have occurred during the nesting season
JANUARY  2012  5



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 5
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 27
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover4
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