One of the most satisfying aspects in game management is maintaining a healthy crop of turkeys to hunt or bringing back a wild turkey population in an area where they have struggled in the past. A simple mistake we see made every year that can have a negative impact on your turkey numbers is the good old bush hog. After being on your property during the spring, you begin to see a lot of things you would like to mow and keep cut back. Remember that those hens have nests hidden all over the place and many times they are in those grown up areas we are dying to get the tractor to and mow them down. Even routine maintenance on clover fields in the spring leads to a lot of turkey nest being destroyed. If you have chores to do on your property this spring, take the time to walk the areas out thoroughly and scout for any hidden turkey nests.
The main picture here is of a nest found in a Clover Plus field at the BioLogic Proving Grounds last spring, we were really wanting to get in there and get the field sprayed, but we took the time to do some walking around before driving in there with the tractor and look what we found. Although food plots are usually not the preferred place a hen will lay her eggs, it is not uncommon for them to use a spring food plot that has some good cover height to it.
Turkey nest facts:
- Incubation time for the eggs is 28 days and each nest generally has 8-12 eggs.
- Only about half of all turkey nesst are successfully hatched.
- More than 70% of poult mortality occurs in the first 14 days after hatching.
- Mammalian nest predators such as raccoons, skunks, possums, etc are responsible for 90% of nest predation.
- Poults are following the hen within 24 hrs of hatching.
This tip is courtesy of the GameKeepers Field Notes, a weekly wildlife and land management email newsletter produced by the Mossy Oak GameKeepers.
A GameKeeper by definition is someone who truly loves AND lives the land, the critters and nature…not just during hunting season but all the time. A GameKeeper wants to be outdoors every day and work the dirt while living their personal “obsession”.
Find out more about what makes a GameKeeper by visiting our website.