Chicken Little, meet Turkey Lurkey

Facts are stubborn things, aren't they?  They interfere with the narrative. In Dave Henderson's "Outdoors" column at the Ithaca Journal:

The "experts" are out in force, telling me that turkey hunting is slow this year because the mild spring weather got the breeding started early and the birds were all done before the opening of the season.

See? There's global warming climate change for ya—even you bitter gun-clingers have to admit it now.

Not exactly. Those pesky facts keep getting in the way.

Sorry Bubba, but the folks who actually know about this sort of thing say it ain't so.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission, using a radio telemetry study of hen turkeys, found that the birds didn't begin incubating nests any earlier this year than in the previous two years.
 
In fact, Pennsylvania has been comparing notes to data collected in the 1950s and 1960s to see if today's birds are nesting earlier, and they aren't. The average date of nest incubation remains around the first week of May.
 
If that is so, then why are gobblers so hard to come by this spring?
 
Because there simply are not as many out there as there used to be.
 
The 2011 spring kill of 18,700 gobblers was down 27 percent from the 2010 kill and well below the previous 10-year average of 32,800. Last fall's kill of 4,243 was about half the 2010 fall kill and well below the 5-year average of 9,800 birds. These are the lowest figures since the mid-1980s.
 
The population was on a down slide for a couple of years when a disastrous 2009 nesting season devastated things. It may take 4-5 years of good nesting springs to recover.
And hunters are a patient lot.