Common wild turkeys are indigenous to the United States and Mexico, where they flourish today, although that has not always been the case. In the early 1900s, they were all but extinct. Thanks to preservation efforts, turkeys can now be found living in many states throughout the U.S. and the northern areas of Mexico.... read more ›
Once on brink of extirpation from much of their historic range, wild turkeys are now thriving. They are found in all 48 contiguous states, plus Hawaii, Mexico and parts of Canada.... see details ›
Alabama: Best State for Turkey Population and Shooting Multiple Birds. Alabama is arguably at the heart of turkey hunting in the US.... view details ›
The Eastern wild turkey inhabits most of the eastern forest, from southern Canada to north Florida and westward to Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota. The Eastern subspecies of the wild turkey is the one that inhabits Alabama.... continue reading ›
1. Missouri. Home to more than 317,000 Eastern turkeys, hunters harvested 47.603 of them. That's more than any other state despite the fact that hunting ends at 1 p.m. daily.... see more ›
Domestic turkeys come from the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), a species that is native only to the Americas. In the 1500s, Spanish traders brought some that had been domesticated by indigenous Americans to Europe and Asia.... see more ›
They can be found in 49 U.S. states, with the only exception being Alaska, Hughes said. In total, about 7 million wild turkeys live in the United States; prior to 1500, an estimated 10 million turkeys existed, he added.... continue reading ›
When the ground gets covered with a powdery snowfall, flocks will congregate in stands of hemlock, pine, and other softwoods. "Softwood stands provide mostly shelter, as the trees will hold snow in the canopy, and there will be less on the ground for the turkeys to contend with," explains Alfieri.... see more ›
You can eat almost every part of a wild turkey. The breast meat is the most tender part of the bird, but if you're looking for flavor, then you should opt for the thighs or legs. If you enjoy giblets, then you might want to save the liver, heart, and gizzards.... see more ›
- Tall Pine Trees. While they might roost in deciduous trees, turkeys prefer conifers. ...
- Open Mature Oak Stands. ...
- Ag Fields With Clover, Alfalfa, Wheat, and Corn. ...
- Water Holes. ...
- Saddles in Ridges. ...
- Livestock Pastures. ...
- Logging Roads & Recently Plowed Fields. ...
- Swamps With Dry Islands.
Turkeys are now established in the Jackson State Forest. Lake County is now considered one of the top wild turkey areas in the state. The Cache Creek Wildlife Area in eastern Lake County is prime turkey country. The BLM land called the Payne Ranch also has a large turkey population.... read more ›
Turkeys' preferred habitat is mixed-conifer and hardwood forests, with various open spaces to find food, such as seeds, nuts, leaves and insects. Despite their large size, they are agile fliers and capable of roosting among high trees, either while foraging for food or avoiding predators.... continue reading ›
There are 6 to 7 million wild turkeys, and they live in every state except Alaska. Like the bald eagle and the wolf, the wild turkey is an animal that came back from the brink of extinction. Wild turkeys are a major conservation success story. Turkeys were once abundant in North America.... view details ›
— The National Wild Turkey Federation has certified the largest turkey killed on record. The gobbler, 37.6 pounds, was shot with a firearm by David Guess of Lyon County, Kentucky, on April 21. The previous record turkey, 37.1 pounds, was killed in 2002 in Oregon.... see details ›
Turkeys Come From? Did you know that the Bay Area's wild turkeys aren't native to California? They're actually a subspecies from the southwest introduced to the state by the California Fish and Game Commission as a trophy hunting bird in the second half of the last century.... continue reading ›
Turkey Population Projections
The forecasted population for 2020 is 83,835,750 and it isn't expected to hit 90 million until around 2035. The current population of Turkey is 85,346,974 based on projections of the latest United Nations data. The UN estimates the July 1, 2022 population at 85,341,241.... see details ›
Jeff Budz has taken 91 turkey grand slams—more than any hunter ever.... continue reading ›
- 5 | Rhode Island. The smallest state in the union (1,045 square miles) only offers limited turkey hunting opportunities. ...
- 1 | Louisiana. We love Louisiana for its people, lifestyle and culture. ...
- 2 | North Dakota. ...
- 3 | Nevada. ...
- 4 | Delaware. ...
- 5 | Rhode Island. ...
- 1 | Louisiana. ...
- 2 | North Dakota.
Turkeys lay eggs at a far slower rate than your average chicken. We're talking one or two eggs a week versus a standard hen's one-per-day. The entire turkey egg-laying process costs way more in factories, since the birds require much larger amounts of food and living space than their hen counterparts.... continue reading ›
Wild turkeys typically forage on forest floors, but can also be found in grasslands and swamps.... read more ›
When the ground gets covered with a powdery snowfall, flocks will congregate in stands of hemlock, pine, and other softwoods. "Softwood stands provide mostly shelter, as the trees will hold snow in the canopy, and there will be less on the ground for the turkeys to contend with," explains Alfieri.... read more ›
They can be found in 49 U.S. states, with the only exception being Alaska, Hughes said. In total, about 7 million wild turkeys live in the United States; prior to 1500, an estimated 10 million turkeys existed, he added.... read more ›
It is not common in American homes for people to eat roosters. Unless, of course, they are raising their own meat. But in western countries, people don't eat rooster meat because they are less economical to raise than hens. Rooster meat should be cooked slowly on low heat.... continue reading ›
Chicken and turkey hybrids
There have been attempted crosses between domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo) and chickens. According to Gray, no hybrids hatched in twelve studies. Other reports found only a few fertile eggs were produced and very few resulted in advance embryos.... read more ›
Both genders are sold commercially. A turkey's age is the biggest factor in how it tastes. Since old females have tough meat, the hens are usually eaten when they are young and small. Conversely, older males are preferred to younger ones because younger ones generally have stringy meat.... continue reading ›
Six subspecies of wild turkeys occur from southern Canada, throughout the United States, and through much of Mexico. Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are native and endemic to North America. Wild Turkeys are widespread in the United States, absent only from parts of the north, west, and Pacific…
Wild turkey numbers decreased dramatically as a result of habitat loss and hunting, but today they are seen as a true conservation success story thanks to the efforts of dedicated scientists, officials, and everyday citizens.. They are usually found in forested and woodland habitats, although they can be found in a variety of environments across their range, including riverine and swamp areas and even the outskirts of suburban areas.. Wild Turkeys are generally found in woodland habitats. Wild Turkeys are widespread in the United States, absent only from parts of the north, west, and Pacific Northwest.. Male wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) eating in a Wisconsin field in autumn. Gould’s wild turkey is a large subspecies that only just enters the United States in Arizona and New Mexico.. Some areas of the conterminous United States are just not suitable for the species, however.. Wild turkeys are absent from large parts of the following central and western states:. Wild Turkeys are most common in the central and eastern parts of the United States.. Wild turkeys nest on the ground.
The wild turkey bird is familiar, but do you know its crazy history, from being honored as a god to becoming endangered and then visiting the White House?
From being honored birds to decimated populations to an astonishing recovery, wild turkeys have a storied history as proud and bold as their personalities.. A type of game bird, the wild turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo ), evolved over 11 million years ago and belonged to the scientific bird family Phasianidae .. While wild turkeys only have one close relative, the ocellated turkey ( Meleagris ocellata ) are distant cousins to other game birds, including pheasants, quail, grouse, and partridges.. Wild turkeys, including the wild tom, with his bold tail fan, dangling snood , and bright wattles, were revered in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations.. The Aztecs honored the wild turkey, which they called huexolotlin , with religious festivals twice a year and believed turkeys to be a bird manifestation of Tezcatlipoca , a trickster god.. Navajos in the American Southwest often penned wild turkeys and fattened the birds for food, but true domestication of wild turkeys first began in Mexico.. Pilgrims brought domesticated European turkeys back to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620, though turkeys were not on the menu for the legendary first Thanksgiving.. While the wild turkey was never a contender for the title, Ben Franklin later expressed his preference for the turkey over the bald eagle in a letter that he wrote to his daughter in 1784, saying, "For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.". In 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) was founded to conserve wild turkeys and preserve and restore suitable wild turkey habitats.. silvestris) : Lives in the eastern half of the United States; the name "silvestris" means "forest" turkey Florida wild turkey ( M.g.. Unlike domesticated turkeys, wild turkeys are agile, fast fliers.. Wild turkeys gobble and make other vocalizations like domesticated turkeys; however, wild turkeys are more mindful of predators and are quieter, and only make sounds when necessary (domestic turkeys are more chatty).
There is only one North American wild turkey species, but the overall population is divided into five subspecies—eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Merriam, and Gould's wild turkeys. This article discusses each subspecies in detail and provides information about population size, habitat, diet, and more.
With the abundance of wild turkeys in North America, and the popularity of turkey hunting, the answer to the question, "How many species of wild turkey are native to North America?". These five subspecies make up the entire wild turkey population in North America.. Their territories vary from vast (in the case of the eastern wild turkey) to extremely regional (in the cases of the Osceola and Gould wild turkeys).. The five North American wild turkey subspecies are the eastern, Osceola, Merriam's, Gould's, and Rio Grande.. The eastern wild turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo silvestris ) is the most predominant North American subspecies, boasting both the largest population and the most widely distributed habitation area.. The eastern wild turkey is traditionally recognized as the "Thanksgiving turkey" enjoyed by early European colonists and generations of Americans since.. Most of the eastern wild turkey population inhabits the eastern half of the united states.. The eastern wild turkey's natural range covers almost the entire eastern half of the United States from Maine and southeastern Canada in the north to northern Florida in the south and as far west as Michigan.. The Osceola wild turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo osceola ), also known as the Florida wild turkey, has one of the smallest habitation regions and subspecies populations on this list.. The Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) is native to the central plains states and is named for the area in which it is found, the southern Great Plains states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Northeastern Mexico.. Gould's wild turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo mexicana ) was first named and described as a subspecies by explorer and naturalist John Gould during his travels in Mexico in 1856. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Gould's wild turkey is the least studied and recognized of the five wild turkey subspecies in North America and has the smallest estimated population.. Commonly described as the largest of the five North American subspecies, the Gould has longer legs, larger feet, and larger center tail feathers than any of the other wild turkeys described here.. Interesting read you have given; just thought a turkey...was a turkey!
California hunting map feature
Lake County is now considered one of the top wild turkey areas in the state.. The Cache Creek Wildlife Area in eastern Lake County is prime turkey country.. While most of the better turkey hunting is on private property, a portion of the Spenceville State Wildlife Area is located in western Nevada County.. Another good turkey area is the national forest just east of Nevada City.. Most of the prime turkey land is on private land, but the Knoxville State Wildlife Area (located near Lake Berryessa) offers a good chance to bag a gobbler.. Kern County doesn't have a large population of turkeys, but the area around Lake Isabella is worth a try.
Habitat requirements and management practices for wild turkey.
Trees provide food (e.g., mast, buds), cover, and roost sites; native grasslands or. forest openings provide food for adults, but perhaps more importantly, foraging habitat. for poults.. As with the eastern hens, Rio Grande hens need understory grasses that provide. horizontal cover for concealment.. Both pine and hardwood forest types should be managed as a sawtimber rotation where. managing for turkeys.. Retaining scattered hardwoods in. pine types is beneficial to turkeys as well as other species.. On regeneration areas, allow. native vegetation to establish, or if necessary, seed access roads and logging decks. with native plants.. Mow, chop, or disk small. open areas adjacent to wooded areas to maintain early successional vegetation.. Planting food and cover (SIP-8; DH3, FP3, NG3, SL3, WA3). Planting food and cover (SIP-8; DH3, FP3, NG3, SL3, WA3). Planting food and cover (SIP-8; DH3, FP3, NG3, SL3, WA3)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a turkey in the Northeast 50 years ago. Now hundreds of thousands roam suburbs where they thrill and bully residents.
“It’s a fabulous success story.” But now, with turkeys practically running the show , agencies must find a balance between celebrating the Wild Turkey revival and ensuring that human and bird get along.. In the 1930s, biologists released hundreds of captive-bred turkeys into the region to try and resuscitate the species, but these domesticated birds couldn’t survive in the wild.. In the 1960s, biologists began to explore the idea of trapping Wild Turkeys, primarily from New York, and transporting them for release in New England.. Today, the Wild Turkey population in Massachusetts exceeds 25,000 birds .. And the Wild Turkeys in suburbia, unlike skittish rural-roaming turkeys, quickly grew accustomed to humans.
What do turkeys eat? Learn their diet and feeding behavior, with tips for how to feed wild turkeys in the backyard.
Turkeys are common guests on the dinner table, particularly for holiday meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what would wild turkeys eat if they could plan the menu?. They forage frequently and will eat many different things, including:. Acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, or walnuts, either cracked open or swallowed whole Seeds and grain, including spilled birdseed or corn and wheat in agricultural fields Berries, wild grapes, crabapples, and other small fruits Small reptiles including lizards and snakes Fleshy plant parts such as buds, roots, bulbs, succulents, and cacti Plant foliage, grass, and tender young leaves or shoots Large insects including grasshoppers, spiders, and caterpillars Snails, slugs, and worms Sand and small gravel for grit to aid proper digestion. These commercial feeds typically contain a mix of material to simulate these birds' highly varied diets.. Season : Turkeys, like all animals, select food sources that are most abundant and easiest to reach.. Wild turkeys that are found in more forested ranges will have a higher percentage of nuts and buds in their diet.. Wild turkeys are not common as backyard birds, but birders who live near wooded areas may find these large game birds foraging near their feeders.. To provide an adequate feeding area for wild turkeys:. Leave leaf litter available for the birds to forage, and leave windfall fruit and nuts on the ground for turkeys to find.. Birders who know what wild turkeys eat can more easily plan how to find these game birds in the field by visiting areas where food is abundant.
Turkey Hunting and More
So was placing hen turkeys in holding pens for wild gobblers to breed.. Expansion was furthered through a Game Commission wild turkey trap-and-transfer program that would become a model for every state interested in turkey restoration.. Today, after thousands of wild turkeys were transferred throughout the state, and provided to other states, turkeys are found in every county, and this wily bird has developed quite a following among hunters and naturalists.. The wild turkey looks much like the domesticated subspecies, except the wild bird is slimmer, has a smaller head, a longer neck, longer, rangier legs, and smaller fleshy head and neck adornments.. In autumn, hunters "read" the turkeys' scratchings to determine when a flock passed by, what size the flock was, and which way the birds were headed.. Gregarious birds, turkeys call when separated from the flock.. Year-old birds are sexually mature; hens often mate during their first spring, but young males usually can't compete with mature gobblers.. In autumn, flocks often contain several old hens and their young, and occasionally hens that have not raised broods, for a total of 40 or more birds.. Half-wild turkeys were bred on the Game Commission's wild turkey farm, beginning in 1930.. Today, turkeys are found throughout the state and are abundant in areas where, in the past, continual releases of game-farm turkeys failed to establish even limited self-sustaining populations.. The following statistics are from The Wild Turkey — Biology and Management, edited by James G. Dickson and published in 1992 by Stackpole Books: (a) nesting success of the turkey is 31 to 45 percent, about normal for a ground-nesting species; (b) 53 to 76 percent of poults perish, mostly within two weeks of hatching; (c) life expectancy of a turkey surviving its first two weeks of life is still less than 1½ years, although a few have been known to survive more than 10 years in the wild; (d) annual turkey survival generally ranges from 54 to 62 percent; (e) predation is generally the most common cause of wild turkey mortality; and (f) hunting-related turkey mortality is highly variable, depending largely on varying hunting season regulations, but can range from less than 5 percent to more than 50 percent of all losses.
Photo: Jim Osborn
The eastern wild turkey is one of six recognized subspecies of turkey in the United States but is the only subspecies found in Illinois.. Wild turkeys are large birds.. A male turkey displaying his feathers for nearby hens.Wild turkeys are typically wary of people and usually run or fly away when approached.. A hen turkey walking in the woods.Adult turkeys eat approximately 90 percent plant matter and 10 percent insects, while poults eat a diet mainly of insects.. Wild turkeys lay an average of 10 to 12 eggs, approximately one egg a day until the hen has a full clutch.. The potential for conflicts between wild turkeys and people will increase as the wild turkey population grows and human activity and development increases in turkey habitat.. Wild turkeys are normally very shy birds, but toms do sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior towards people, particularly during the breeding season.. In some cases, nuisance turkeys are not wild birds, but rather pen-raised turkeys from game-farm stock.. While it is illegal to release pen-raised turkeys in Illinois, some turkeys have escaped or been released into the wild.. These birds often look like wild turkeys, but they lack a wariness of humans, are not adept at living in the wild, and often associate people with food.. If you need assistance with a wild turkey problem in an urban area CONTACT a local Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist.. In Illinois, wild turkeys are legally protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code.
The Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) has the largest population and the widest range of the three turkey subspecies (Rio Grande, Merriam’s, and Eastern wild turkeys) found in Texas. Unregulated hunting in the 1800s greatly reduced the Rio Grande wild turkey (RGWT) population in Texas to about 100,000 birds by 1920. Since then, their numbers have recovered thanks to better habitat management, restocking programs by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and partnerships with landowners and conservation groups. However, there has been a steady decline in their populations in certain regions since the 1970s, which prompted TPWD to partner with universities to study the biology and habitat requirements of the turkeys in different parts of the states.
Male turkeys are referred to as “toms”; males of breeding age are “gobblers”; females are “hens”; juveniles are “poults.”. Male Rio Grand Wild Turkey (Gobbler). The bodies of wild turkeys are covered with 5,000 to 6,000 feathers.. Poults are relatively small when hatched; they only weigh 2 ounces.. Nest sites are typically found in areas that are within ¼ mile of a water source, have grass heights of 18 inches, and have a high abundance of insects.. Females lay one egg per day, producing an average total of 10-11 eggs.. Although RGWTs do not migrate, they have two distinct roosting sites: summer roosts and winter roosts.. RGWTs prefer to roost over an open understory, which is why they can often be seen roosting over water.. Survival increases once they begin roosting in trees rather than on the ground.. Wild turkeys are susceptible to a number of diseases.. Managing Brush Near Rio Grande Wild Turkey Roosts (WF-047)