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Bird of the Week: Wild Turkeys Everywhere!

Okanogan Country | 12/10/2018 | Blog, Fishing & Hunting, Methow Valley, The Great Outdoors, Wildlife Viewing, Winter Fun

Merriam turkeys are native to the coniferous mountains and canyons of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. They live in the canyons and forests of northeast and central Washington. These turkeys prefer forests that contain ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, western white pine, Engelman spruce, Douglas maple, willows, cottonwoods, and aspens. In Washington, they eat grass leaves and seeds, ponderosa pine seeds, acorns, grasshoppers, forbs, and fruits like wild strawberries. Also, they prefer to roost in Douglas fir and grand fir trees. Features include:

  • White or buff tail coverts 
  • Nearly white tail tips 
  • May weigh up to 25 lbs. 

For more information on Marriam Turkeys and Wild Turkey Hunting visit ›››› https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01803/wdfw01803.pdf

Food and Feeding Habits: 
According to the WDFW Wild turkeys will eat just about anything that provides them with nutrition. They will eat fresh green vegetation, seeds, fruit, invertebrates, plants, and sometimes small lizards or frogs.A field full of grasshoppers in turkey country is sure to attract birds. Turkeys feed right after flying down from the roost in the early morning and in the evening.

Tracks: Turkey tracks can be found in snow, soft mud, or light dirt areas. Their track is very distinctive. It is about four inches long, characterized by three long toes that face forward, and one little toe that faces back, about one inch. The middle toe of the hen is smaller (less than 2 ½ inches) than a mature tom (more than 2 ½ inches). When strutting, toms will also leave wing drag marks.

Common Turkeys In Washington: Washington State is home to three sub-species of turkey. They are the Eastern, Merriam’s, and Rio Grande.

Hunting Techniques: 
According to WDFW most turkey hunting is done in the spring when male turkeys (toms) are displaying to female turkeys (hens) in a bid to become their mate. The great thing about spring hunting is that the birds are generally vocal and respond to calls and decoys. In Washington you can harvest up to three turkeys during the spring season. Fall hunting is a bit different than spring hunting because the birds are gathering for the upcoming winter months. They are generally just feeding and moving throughout the day. Hunters can harvest up to four turkeys during the general fall seasons. An additional bird can also be harvested during the fall special permit season if you put in for and are drawn for a special permit. To learn more click here: The Basics of Turkey Hunting in Washington or visit Wild Turkey Sping Season 2018.

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