Interesting question. The fact that they have an OTC hunt means there are enough birds or low enough success rate to have an "open season." The only logical reason I can think of is they want to have a hunt that is a "LE experience." I don't know if they've accomplished that objective. I've only hunted OTC, but lots of LE hunters complain about the competition and pressure on the birds.
It's not a "LE tag" per say, but a $10 crowd control fee to chase em before the circus of unlimited OTC hunters moves in on em clucking up a storm. The birds get educated real quick on public ground.
Fowl, me and my son have private property in Wellsville that has lots of birds but a few other people have permission from other family members. So usually, with a LE tag we can get to be the only ones on this farm. If we don't draw the crowd control tag, then it's the general and try our luck on that.
I'm not a turkey biologist per se but I look at it a couple ways. Socially and biologically. It may be bad biologically to have an open hunt early because there would be way to many people not only harvesting but changing flock behavior as they strut, breed, and nest. Socially it takes some of the pressure off the open hunt by having a controlled number of people out there during the early hunt.
As said...for an easier hunt. For some reasons everyone thinks we should be entitled to easy hunts(?) You think our UT general season hunts are tough...go hunt NY, PA, OH and see what hunter pressure is really like.
The LE hunt is a major cause of over crowding. If you have x number of turkey hunters and x number of days to hunt, the less days you have, the large the number of hunters that are forced to hunt in that smaller space of time to get their opportunity to hunt. Now days most must schedule hunts in advance, so when we reduce the number of days available to hunt we in fact limit opportunity for many hunters.
THERE IS NO BIOLOGICAL ARGUMENT FOR THE MIDDLE TWO WEEKS OF APRIL TO BE SET ASIDE FOR A LIMITED OPPORTUNITY HUNT.
For the very very limited improvement in crowding offered by the LE experience, the majority of hunters must endure over crowding, and limited opportunity(less days to go hunting) for a hunting experience.
For these reasons I am dead set against the LE hunt for turkeys
First, the LE is 3 weeks in April.....20 days for adult hunters.
Youth that draw LE and do not harvest then get all 3 seasons,
with the youth hunt and general season state wide.....kids get 52 days!
Adults that just hunt general get 30 day to hunt.
2nd) While I realize there are 'over crowding' problems along the Wasatch front,
both during LE and general, I know places that hold good numbers of birds on the
Southern and SE units a guys can go during the LE AND NEVER SEE ANOTHER HUNTER!
3rd) I cant even imagine the over crowding problems that would occur if Utah only
had one general season turkey hunt that opened April 9th, for EVERYONE, OTC permits.
That would be insane!
I was unsuccessful as I knew I would be. I liked the idea of not making an ass of myself in front of many hunters, A lesser number seeing me do so would be ok. I will get a G.S. tag and hopefully find a place that I won't look stupid! -O,-
OMG Goofy, my extreme apologies...wow, 20 days instead of 2 weeks...how could I be so stupid. Trouble is, that even makes it worst. Now instead of hunters getting 50 days to try and schedule a day or two to hunt, they only get 30.
You seriously don't see how that cuts opportunity for many hunters, just so a few can get a very very limited improvement in the number of hunters in the field? Sure, the first couple days of any hunt is always over crowded, but after that hunter numbers drop and a good quality hunt can be had by any serious hunter.
Opportunity is not simply measured by the number of days that are in the season. When you are a working person with kids in school etc, opportunity is a chance to get out that fits with the rest of a normal life.
Most hunters don't live within 5 or 10 minutes of a place to hunt like some lucky hunters, they must plan ahead, make arrangements, etc, and with fewer days to choose from...well, do I need to explain that to you again?
The notion that the limited entry turkey hunt is "better" is false. It can be better, but it can also not be as good as the general season, depending on the birds you're hunting and their location. An example is the big snow year of 2011 in which I had an LE tag. That year, the birds in northern/central utah were later getting going and for 2 solid weeks I hunted toms that were in flocks of 20-30 hens and jakes all together. I didn't hear a single gobble and observed very little strutting compared to other hunts in this same area in previous year. Calls did nothing but send birds running the other way. The last couple days of the hunt, they finally started breaking up and and acting like spring turkeys, but I had used all of my time off and wasn't able to get after them the last few days. That is the only year I have ever not harvested a turkey. I haven't applied since and have harvested turkeys in the GS every year since. If I was hunting southern/southeastern Utah, I might consider a LE hunt, but will not do one in central or northern Utah. Plus, I will never limit myself to one region, that is the #1 reason that the LE hunt is stupid. Statewide general season.
By the way the Early hunt isn't really better. I know hard core turkey guys who prefer the general season hunt. I drew early and might turn it back for the general hunt. Turkey hunting is something our dads and grandads didn't get much opportunity to do and now there are so many gosh dang turkeys we are using turkeys to trade other states for things we need. There are turkeys in places that never see hunters too. If you think there is a crowding problem find another spot. There are plenty to go around and they just keep replenishing flocks and starting new ones around the state. For example 128 so far have been trapped out of Aurora and have been sent to new areas and add to existing flocks. There have been hundreds of others around the state doing the same thing. Turkey hunting is alive and well in Utah right now. I'm thinking of putting a backpack and tent on my back this year and heading into one of these flocks that rarely see hunting pressure this year.
Okay, you guys don't like the early hunt.
Makes it better for me. Where I hunt we see nobody during the early.
During the general there is people going everywhere. Including where they don't have permission.
Can actually set up, call, and bring them in.
I enjoy the general when I don't get the early, no big deal.
You have your opinion, and the rest of us have ours.
I have been hunting turkeys since '86. Still one of my favorite hunts, early or late hunt.
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