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Opposition to Wild Turkey spring hunting

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Old Friday 25th March 2005, 14:33   #1
Gaga
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Exclamation Opposition to Wild Turkey spring hunting

Recently, the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife of Quebec enabled a new spring wild turkey hunt season. In this case, we're talking about a very small population of approximately 1500 birds within the province, concentrated in the southernmost parts. For obvious reasons, all birdwatchers are opposed to that hunting season. Therefore, I invite you to sign the petition: www.aqgo.qc.ca/petition. The petition is in French, here's the translation:

To: Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife Quebec

Object: Planned Wild Turkey Hunt

Whereas:
  • The favourite season for most Quebecers to engage in non-harvesting related outdoor recreational activities is spring;
  • Quebecers who engage in outdoor recreational activities in spring would like to be able to practice their favourite activity in peace and quiet without having to worry about the presence of hunters;
  • Every autumn, hunters have the almost exclusive use of Quebec's territory;
  • It has always been a wise practice to limit hunting to fall, which allows the equitable use of Quebec's territory by the majority of Quebec citizens, who are not hunters;
  • Surveys of Wild Turkeys in southern Quebec indicate that the population of male birds (toms) is barely 1,200;
  • No one can state with certainty if the Wild Turkey's future is secure;
  • The most recent scientific studies have shown that a Wild Turkey hunt would be premature and even risky for the future of Quebec's small turkey population;
  • The deliberate introduction of the Wild Turkey into regions where it has been absent could disturb ecosystems and harm biodiversity.

For these reasons, I ask that you abandon any plan to hunt, capture or release Wild Turkeys anywhere in Quebec.

Last edited by Gaga : Friday 25th March 2005 at 14:38.
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Old Friday 25th March 2005, 17:45   #2
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A spring hunt would also seriously disrupt breeding activity, as hunters would be drawn to easy shots at places where the males display to attract mates; surviving males would then not return to the traditional display sites, and females would no longer be able to find them easily.

Even disturbance without shooting at display sites can seriously disrupt breeding success with many gamebirds.
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2005, 02:00   #3
Gaga
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The petition is now available in english! Please sign it to www.aqgo.qc.ca/petition.

Thank you!
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2005, 02:33   #4
cavan wood
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Done

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Old Tuesday 29th March 2005, 05:28   #5
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FYI - Here in New York, we have spring & fall turkey hunting seasons. Wild turkey are a species with very high reproductive capability. It is not uncommon for hens to have 10-15 chicks and they often have more than 1 brood per season. Personally, I would think that winter weather and available winter food is the primary limiting factor to a population in Quebec. In New York, they can often be seen feeding on cow manure spread on snow covered corn fields. In areas without agriculture, I think their numbers are significantly less. What I'm getting at is - in Quebec, the portion of the population taken by hunters may be the same or less than the number that would otherwise die due to natural causes of limited food supply, coyote predation, and winter kill.

As far as safety during hunting season goes, I have never felt seriously threatened by turkey hunters. Their numbers are much, much less than the number of hunters pursuing deer and they need to be close to the bird for a successful shot (unlike deer hunters whom sometimes fill the air with lead slugs, hoping to hit a running deer). Furthermore - turkey hunting is not easy! It takes a great deal of practice to learn how to call in a bird using the vsarious calls. Best thing is to use common sense - during hunting season, stay out of thick brush, or wear some blaze orange on your clothing.

Generally, I'd say that turkey hunters share a lot more in common with bird watchers than many people (including sometimes turkey hunters & birders!) would like to admit. What do you think turkey hunters are doing as they are waiting at their blind at 6am hoping for a bird to come their way? They are enjoying the dawn chorus of song birds! We both want protected habitat, we both study birds, we both know the details of bird calls, we both want & support public lands for our activities. In essence, this is not a battle worth fighting. The battles we need to fight are acid precipitation, habitat destruction and fragmentation due to building development, road construction etc; global warming, loss of rare habitats & threatened or endangered species. To effectively fight these battles, hunters & environmentalists & birders need to unite!

Next time you come across a turkey hunter while birding - talk to them. Chances are. you'll find out that they enjoy song birds just like you!
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2005, 22:23   #6
cavan wood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1
FYI - Best thing is to use common sense - during hunting season, stay out of thick brush, or wear some blaze orange on your clothing.
I think that is the point that Gaga was making. We would like to be able to go into the woods during the spring without having to worry about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1
Generally, I'd say that turkey hunters share a lot more in common with bird watchers than many people (including sometimes turkey hunters & birders!) would like to admit. What do you think turkey hunters are doing as they are waiting at their blind at 6am hoping for a bird to come their way? They are enjoying the dawn chorus of song birds! We both want protected habitat, we both study birds, we both know the details of bird calls, we both want & support public lands for our activities. In essence, this is not a battle worth fighting. The battles we need to fight are acid precipitation, habitat destruction and fragmentation due to building development, road construction etc; global warming, loss of rare habitats & threatened or endangered species. To effectively fight these battles, hunters & environmentalists & birders need to unite!
No argument there. I can only speak for myself, but I have no problem with hunting, but as I already said, lets keep the spring hunt free.

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Originally Posted by Andy1
Next time you come across a turkey hunter while birding - talk to them. Chances are. you'll find out that they enjoy song birds just like you!
They probably won't appreciate it. Like you said, turkey hunting is a tough go, and having some chatty birder come along and scare away the turkeys you just spend all morning calling in probably won't go over that well. I happened along a guy practicing calls the other day in the local area. I didn't talk to him but he left when he saw me and gave me a look that wasn't particularly a "nice to see you" look.

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Old Friday 1st April 2005, 22:00   #7
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"They probably won't appreciate it. Like you said, turkey hunting is a tough go, and having some chatty birder come along and scare away the turkeys you just spend all morning calling in probably won't go over that well. I happened along a guy practicing calls the other day in the local area. I didn't talk to him but he left when he saw me and gave me a look that wasn't particularly a "nice to see you" look."

Scott[/quote]

You are correct. Actually, though I didn't say it clearly, I was referring to a chance meeting one might have at a parking area, roadside, etc. which is where you might most likely meet a hunter. In the woods, I usually just give a friendly, silent wave and move on past them.

My overall point though is that hunters and birders can share the woods together. If one is really paranoid about being shot, there are lots of places to do birding where you will not encounter turkey hunters during the few weeks that they would have for their season.

I really feel that one of the biggest threats to the environment is apathy as people become more & more removed from direct contact with nature. If someone wants to enjoy nature by going turkey hunting in the spring, thats great! They will likely eventually have a vested interest in protecting wild areas. Whether someone is hunting, fishing, birding, photographing, etc. - people who love the natural world will likely try to pass that appreciation down to their children & we will all be better of for it.

The other alternative is that of people not spending time in the natural world, not learning to appreciate it, not caring about it, not passing the respect for it to their children & not being concerned enough about it for it to affect their actions or decisions at the voting booth.

Last edited by Andy1 : Friday 1st April 2005 at 22:03.
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Old Friday 1st April 2005, 22:34   #8
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Andy, on all your points in your last post, I totally agree...just not during spring in the woods that I walk through every day throughout the spring.
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Old Friday 1st April 2005, 22:41   #9
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1
My overall point though is that hunters and birders can share the woods together. If one is really paranoid about being shot, there are lots of places to do birding where you will not encounter turkey hunters during the few weeks that they would have for their season.
I disagree with that, especially in areas like southern Quebec where natural spots are very scarce. Birders and hunters have to go at the same spots... The point is not of being shot, the point is to be able to enjoy the birds!

Last fall, I was quietly looking for snow goose, when a hunter arrived and start shooting at them. I didn't say anything because we were in fall and I know that there is a hunting season well established now at that time of the year. So, if they have already "priority" on fall's birds, why can't we don't have "priority" on spring birds?? And now, they are going for wild turkeys...
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Old Monday 11th July 2005, 14:34   #10
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I agree with everything Andy1 said, since I am an avid hunter AND birder. However, I also believe that there are too many hunting seasons and that many of them are too long. I don't feel that hunters need to be killing things all year long, especially during the spring of the year.
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