Wild Turkey is the heaviest member of the Galliformes and is one of two species of turkey ( the other is Ocellated Turkey, found in Central and South America). Adult wild turkeys have a small, featherless, bluish head; a red throat; long reddish-orange legs; and a dark-brown body. The head has fleshy growths called caruncles; in excited turkeys, a fleshy flap on the bill expands, becoming engorged with blood. Males have red wattles on the throat and neck. Each foot has four toes, and males have rear spurs on their lower legs.

Wild Turkey

Turkeys have a long, dark, fan-shaped tail and glossy bronze wings and as with many other species of the Galliformes, turkeys exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. The male is substantially larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, green, copper, bronze, and gold iridescence. Female feathers are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray. Parasites can dull coloration of both sexes; in males, coloration may serve as a signal of health; the primary wing feathers have white bars. 

Turkeys have taken up residence on golf courses and are reported to be established in New York City’s Central Park. City dwellers and suburbanites have generally welcomed this influx, though a few view turkeys as interlopers. Although every spring media reports make much of turkeys crossing city streets, wandering into buildings or up fire escapes, and standing their ground against humans, such incidents hardly represent the norm.


Wild Turkey Hunting Tips


The United States’ history is deeply related to this small land bird, for its hunting has been a significant factor in the survival of the native inhabitants of the North American continent. Many centuries have passed, and wild turkey hunting is still popular along this part of the world, while also regarded with respect and gratitude, as well as care for the future of the next generations. But this has not always been this way as it had many ups and downs along the way, yet managing to uphold its roots and essence as a meaningful and significant piece of American history.

Wild Turkey hunting

Long before European settlers arrived in the Americas, native Americans enjoyed abundant wild turkeys and hunted the birds for food. By the beginning of the 20th century, most wild turkey populations were wiped in North America, being victims of decades of environmental devastation and commercial harvest. By the Great Depression, less than 30,000 turkeys were left in the whole of the United States. Luckily, the American huntsmen, wildlife agencies, conservation groups interfered, and wild turkey populations bounced back spectacularly. Over 7 million turkeys now wander North America, with people fit hunting in each state except Alaska; turkeys are furthermore hunted in some regions of Mexico and Canada.


This turnaround started in 1937 with the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act’s approbation that put taxes on guns, ammo, and other hunting gear, allocating them for protection and natural habitat improvement programs. Lobbied for and supported by hunting enthusiasts, this levy collected billions for the restoration of wildlife. These resources are still needed in our day to sustain ongoing efforts to safeguard turkeys and other game or non-game species. With almost 3 million affiliated hunters, all of them paying taxes on gear and purchasing hunting licenses, this sport’s ongoing role in conservation can’t be overlooked. Since 1985, National Wild Turkey Federation unpaid helpers and associates have spent over 202 million dollars on 31,000 projects meant to lend a hand to wildlife agencies in trapping and transferring turkeys to regions of appropriate habitat as well as improving the health of the nation’s woodlands.


To put it briefly, wild turkey hunting has managed to place itself on a high stand in American history and the people’s conscience as a distinct entity. Although its four thousand years of existence, this sport is still well-liked today, and with so many measures taken to ensure a better future for these animals, it would seem that not only will it survive the clash of modernity but will be a part of it.