Where are all the turkeys? It's been a reason for concern and conversation over the past couple of years. The ODWC (Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation) is leading the charge to help stop the decline and bring the numbers back up statewide. At one time Oklahoma had a thriving turkey population, but it has since dwindled and has wildlife experts worried.

Recently the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission met and voted to delay the next Spring turkey season (2022) to April 16th and reduce the bag limit to one tom per hunter. The same goes for the Fall season as well. They hope by delaying the season and limiting the number of birds to just one will help improve over all population numbers across the state.

Last year the majority of hunters didn't harvest a single bird and only a small number managed to harvest just one and that's with the standard bag limit. Some places have been more affected than others. Western Oklahoma which was once the wild turkey mecca of the Sooner State has seen turkey population numbers drop by as much as 50%. As you can imagine it has wildlife experts and biologists concerned.

They're now conducting studies to try to figure out why this is happening. They've identified several factors that are causing the decline including: disease, weather patterns, predators, wildfires to the urbanization of private and public lands that were once prime turkey habitat.

Depending on where you go in the state will largely determine the decline in turkey populations. Here in Comanche County the numbers appear to be somewhat stable at least for the time being. They have shrunk, but not as drastically as other counties in the state. If you've been on the East side of Lawton you've probably seen wild turkey. I typically see them on farm lands on Flower Mound Road and even on Bishop Road. Seems like a lot of the private land and farmland on the East Side has become a turkey sanctuary.

Hopefully scientists will discovery the problem and we can rescue the wild turkey in Oklahoma. In the meantime the changes in delaying next year's Spring and Fall hunting season along with reducing the bag limit will help protect and improve overall numbers.

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