Despite what you may think, turkeys do move a lot. In fact, they can move upwards of a 1 to 3 miles per day in certain situations.
No wonder they are some of the most challenging game to hunt.
Turkeys will do whatever it takes to stay safe, find food and water, and mate.
Even if you scout before the season, it is possible the turkeys have moved on to a more suitable location by the time hunting season rolls around.
Turkeys on the Move
Even though turkeys can travel 1 to 3 miles a day, there is some good news. In general, they do not seems to wander too much outside of that area. Wild turkeys usually range within the same few square miles on a day to day basis for the majority of their life.
And, if they don’t have reason to move, they often move less than the stated 1 to 3 miles per day. At night, they like to roost in trees to stay safe from predators. During the day they spend their time eating, drinking, calling, and mating.
Why Turkeys Travel So Much
You may be wondering why turkeys travel so much… I was too.
After doing some research, it seems that turkey are willing to travel quite far when it comes to survival. Despite their size, there are still many predators turkeys have to watch out for. This article by NWTF actually points out that the turkey’s eggs are what are most susceptible to predators and thus drive the turkey’s habitat selection.
If a turkey senses any presence of a predator, it will not hesitate to vacate the area.
Another major factor that causes turkeys to travel is food. Turkeys eat a lot of bugs like grasshoppers. This is why you can often find them foraging through agricultural fields.
Weather is the last major reason turkeys wander from place to place. I have heard from some old-time turkey hunters:
- Turkeys move with the climate, when it cools off they move to lower elevations and visa-versa.
- Once hunting season starts, they don’t wander as much.
- During spring, gobblers like open fields so they can attract a mate.
Luckily, turkeys respond well to calling even if they are outside of the immediate area. You can use a good scratch box to make a mixture of light clucks and yelps to attract them to the area. You will be surprised by how effective this can be.
Do Turkeys Say in One Area?
Yes, they will stay in roughly the same area unless they have reason to move. The most common reason they move is a suspected predator is sensed or food is scarce.
How Miles Can a Turkey Fly?
It is rare for a male or female turkey to fly very far. Even though they can fly fast (upwards of 50 miles per hour) turkeys are so large that it requires a lot of energy for them to fly. So, they get tired quite fast.
How Big is a Wild Turkeys Home Range?
According to the Michigan Wildlife Landowners Guide, wild turkeys can range upwards of 2000 acres. In case you are wondering, this amounts to about 3 square miles.
What is the Lifespan of a Wild Turkey?
The average lifespan of a turkey is approximately 3 years, with the occasional bird living up to 5 years. With so much heavy hunting pressure and an abundance of predators, it is quite rare for a wild turkey to make it to the 5 year mark.
So in summary, turkeys can travel anywhere from 1 to 3 miles per day. Their decisions are heavily influenced by predators, food, and water. When looking for a good area to hunt turkey, keep their possible food sources in mind. They generally roost in trees at night so areas like old river bottoms and edges of fields can be great places to find them.