Now that Thanksgiving is over, a word (or two) about the “wild turkey”



So, friends that turkey on your table or someone else’s yesterday was likely NOT a wild turkey. Wild turkeys have been bred as domestics for many years to produce a table turkey with bigger breasts and smaller “other parts”  — and those turkeys are unable to fly or run fast — likely they’ve never even been given the chance.

The wild turkeys out there — are not “stupid” as they have been called. In fact, they can fly and run and hide in trees. Due to loss of habitat and over hunting, they were nearly extinct from many parts of our country until a reintroduction program returned populations to the wild. In wooded grasslands they fly beneath the canopy top and land to perch — they also can fly close to the ground for a fourth of a mile or more.

So now, the next part of the story begins — some people are claiming wild turkeys are a nuisance. And so, like the Canada geese, whose numbers fell, then rose again due to reintroduction programs, the turkey will probably soon be maligned in the wild and humans will be crying to lower the populations.

Both these creatures — the Canada goose and the wild turkey — were helped to survive because hunters like them. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hunting fan for sure, but if you need to hunt to get a meal to your family, I totally understand. I just hope we can learn that we inadvertently mess with nature and when we try to correct our mistakes by “messing” again, we’d better get it right.

My goal this year or maybe next is to add wild turkey to my Lake County, Illinois list. a long time ago, I saw a mother turkey with her young walking behind her in pairs, at Mississippi Palisades State Park — what a wonderful sight.


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