Your Wildlife Habitat
Living With Wild Turkeys
Wild turkeys had almost completely disappeared from Ontario due to over-hunting and loss of forest cover in the early 1900s. Since their reintroduction to Ontario starting in 1984, their population has now been restored and supports a sizable annual harvest.
During the summer months, when crops are growing wild turkey mostly eat insects. The extremely fast growing young especially require a high protein diet consisting of insects. Under some situations wild turkeys can cause problems for farmers. They have been known to puncture the sealed silage bails causing them to spoil. The will also kick the protective straw off wintering strawberries and they will take advantage of corn that has not been harvested in the late fall and winter.
In some cases, particularly in urban areas, wild turkeys can be aggressive with people. Preventing them from becoming habituated to humans is essential. You, and all your neighbours, must let them know who’s boss. To learn all about wild turkeys in Ontario, follow the links below.
Ontario’s Wild Turkey Management Plan, published by MNRF, will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about turkeys. The appendices provide numerous links to other websites with information about crop damage and other human-turkey conflicts.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has local representatives who may be able to help you find a licensed hunter to hunt the wild turkeys on your property during their hunting season.
Wild Turkeys are one of the few game animals that are hunted in the spring. The hunt is for bearded birds only, which are primarily the male birds, so that the nesting females are not disturbed. If you would like to know more about the hunt and how to get a wild turkey license please visit the OFAH website.