Video: Wild Turkey Hen Fakes Injury to Protect Her Young

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The spring wild turkey season runs through the month of May in many Northern tier states increasing the chance that you may encounter a hen and her brood.  This video from the Realtree.com website is not only interesting because it shows the behavior of a hen turkey protecting her young.

A Good Teaching Clip

If you hunt with youngsters or novice hunters, this is a great learning opportunity and a chance to teach an advanced lesson in conservation.  A child or novice to the woods may think that this bird is injured and try to catch her.  That’s the survival plan for the hen, yet pursuing humans can easily step on a chick or scatter the young birds so that they cannot reassemble to the protection of their mother.

Like Fawn Deer

Young mammals and birds survive best when left alone.

As when finding a fawn that seems abandoned by its mother, the best course of action is to retreat and allow the animal to continue its natural activity.  Although I have not experienced a turkey acting injured to lure away predators, I have seen that behavior many times with killdeer.  Since those birds build an extremely basic nest of sticks and stones, their chicks are completely helpless and so well camouflaged that you could step on them.

Late Season Hunting

If you see a turkey hen in the same location on several occasions, you can bet that she has a nest nearby and is about to begin incubation.  Ironically, turkeys don’t build nests in brush piles but prefer open patches of leaves and grass where the hen can see a predator if one approaches.  The mottled hue of a hen turkey’s feather make excellent camouflage and a hunter could easily disturb the nest.  As stated, if you see a hen repeatedly, avoid that location and allow her to increase the flock.

Enjoy the video and learn a lesson; https://youtu.be/CycLkyDqw70

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.

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