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Turkey Populations by Grant Woods

A few weeks ago we found a turkey nest while clearing some brush from the edge of a bedding area to create a new hidey-hole food plot. The nest had six eggs in it at the time.

I put a Reconyx trail camera with video capabilities on the nest and have enjoyed watching what hens do while “nesting.” I’ve also been thrilled that a predator hasn’t destroyed the nest so far! This hen is beating the odds. Researchers have published that 50 to 90% (depending on the study areas) of all turkey nests are destroyed by predators!

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The list of predators includes raccoons, opossums, skunks, bears, coyotes, bobcats, crows, hawks, many species of snakes, etc. It seems almost every critter likes turkey eggs!

Hens typically lay 8 to 12 eggs and average from less than 1 to 1.4 poults will survive! In other words, on average 9 out of 10 nests or young poults will be killed before they are 6 months old and out of 10 nests survive.

Clearly every turkey nest is valuable. I look forward to checking this camera again and hope this hen is successful at hatching these 6, if not more as time passes, eggs.

Growing and hunting critters together,


Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.