Predators For Poults

The impacts of predation can be felt across the country on the hatch of turkey poults. It is up to us as turkey hunters and conservationists to control the predator population on lands we manage. Trapping to benefit wild turkeys is important. While we can’t control the weather, we can manage predation—at least on a local level, with targeted seasonal trapping.

If you’re managing for the best turkey habitat on your property with food plots, prescribed fire, timber improvement, then trapping should be the next skill on your “to learn” list. Turkeys For Tomorrow has partnered with NO-BS Lures to offer DP traps at the lowest possible cost to our supporters for the greater good of turkey populations. We want to make it clear that timely removal is the key, removing raccoons and other nest raiders from the landscape at the right time of year can do more for the localized hatch than you might realize.

Every tight chain will help a turkey #forturkeys.

We hope to lead a resurgence in trapping interest, with much of it driven by our partnership with NO-BS Traps. We as conservation minded hunters should take advantage of the availability of these traps and our educational resources centered around trapping. We must acknowledge the data that shows a significant upward trend of coons, opossums, and skunks and a decline of the wild turkey populations across the country.

Dr. Grant Woods, a huge proponent for trapping to support turkey conservation shares his experiences on the "Proving Grounds". Despite abundant habitat that was being ever improved, Woods noted what had been a sharp decline in the turkey numbers on the Proving Grounds, his own 1,576-acre farm near Branson, Missouri. “We had good nesting cover,” he says. “We do prescribed burns. We cut hundreds of acres of cedars, but our turkey population was getting really low. So, we started conducting more concentrated trapping efforts.”

Over the past decade, Woods and his crew have worked to trap and remove predators every winter. This year was their most productive yet, with 115 critters taken out. “You know what?” Woods says. “Our turkeys started coming back.”

Management trapping is simply a matter of temporarily reducing predator numbers at strategic times of the year. For turkey hunters, that means trapping as close to the nesting season as possible. Most predators are born in the late spring or early summer, and the young-of-the-year disperse in the fall. In February, most of the predators on the landscape are mature adults, and many have established territories. The goal is to remove enough of them to create a temporary void in the areas where turkeys normally nest—long enough for a few extra nests to survive.

Trapping regulations, including season dates for various species and legal equipment, differ from state to state. Before trapping check your state regulations.

How to Get Started in Trapping

Getting into trapping can be intimidating because there’s a fair amount of equipment involved, and not many trappers out there to teach you how to use it. This is where TFT is going to help. We are going to teach two classes a year to educate you, the land managers, on how to trap.  We are also going to offer trapping for hire services with consultations available.

If you're interested in targeting nest predators we recommend you start out with a dozen Dog Proof raccoon traps, known as DPs for short. To target nest predators, start with a dozen Dog Proof raccoon traps. We encourage everyone to bait them with a mix of cat food, marshmallows, and sardines to keep costs low.

DPs are easy to use and safe, and you don’t have to worry about catching the neighbor’s dog or cat in them. Basically, each one is a cylinder with a wire jaw that’s held open under spring tension. To be fired, a critter has to reach into the tube and hit the trigger at the bottom. It’s a deadly system for predators that use their front paws to pick and grab at food: raccoons, opossums, and skunks.

It is recommended that you run a half dozen traps per 50 acres, every winter and give your turkeys a fighting chance for nest success.

Help Us Help Turkeys by getting started trapping today!

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P.O. Box 64 Pope, MS 38658

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