Whitetail deer hunters experience “ground shrinkage,” a concept where a deer looks much smaller after the shot then before.  Wild turkeys have the opposite experience regarding beauty.  From a distance, they look like  bland, black birds, yet close up in photos, either through the lens of a camera or the end of a successful hunt, wild turkeys have magnificently radiant, multi-colored feathers.

Tes Jolly

The beauty of a wild turkey is best appreciated at close range.

You are about to see a portfolio of wild turkeys as only a skilled photographer can capture.  I’ve know Tes Jolly for many years and marveled at her work.  Like a skilled hunter, Jolly spends countless hours in blinds from early in the morning throughout the day to “shoot” her birds.

Light is the Variable

I once took a photographic safari prior to our hunting season, armed only with a camera and decoys.  I popped up a blind in an area known for a big flock, placed decoys just as I would in a hunting situation and began calling.  The result was exciting, yet not productive.  Two gobblers flew from the roost and harassed the decoys directly in front of me.  Unfortunately, their actions were so immediate, I had very little light and all of my images were blurred and fuzzy.  Worse yet, once the big toms realized they had been “had,” they left for the day.

Wanna Fight? Turkeys Do.

The quest for dominance must be a “first from the egg” experience for wild turkeys.  After their first peck for food, the second is to a sibling, as the bullying begins.  Hens and gobblers alike seem to be in a constant battle for dominance, the reason that many gobblers flog and spur a freshly killed buddy rather than flying away.  Even the trauma of a shotgun blast doesn’t scare them.  If a blind has a second hunter or the original shooter has an extra tag, this doesn’t bode well for the revengeful bird.

Whether your season has gone famously or not-so-much, these images on the Realtree website are sure to prompt a smile:  http://www.realtree.com/turkey-hunting/galleries/the-20-best-photos-youll-ever-see-of-the-wild-turkey-breeding-season?mc_cid=b80e022931&mc_eid=8fe2237aad