Years ago, I used to spend my winters watching the weather and worrying about the wild turkey’s ability to survive tough New England winters. Is the snow too deep? Have the temperatures been too cold for too long? Is there so much ice on so many limbs that turkeys can’t get at food?
That was then, this is now. Thanks to many, many turkey survival studies, I rarely worry about the birds in winter any longer. In fact, increased logging activities and a preponderance of snow-machine trails have completely put my mind at ease–the wild turkey can pretty much survive anything.
Except cold, wet springs.
If you live in the Northeast, you know all about rain–it hasn’t stopped in a month. Already concerned about the hatch, the two poult-less hens I watched in one of my hunting areas this past weekend brought the point home. It’s the end of June. They should either have poults or (wishful thinking on my part) at least not be off the nest for very long. However, they were off their ‘nest’ for most of the day. My guess? Cold and wet kills poults. They lost their poults impacting future turkey seasons. Other New England sources (checked with 5 on Saturday evening) are reporting much of the same: hens with no poults.
Here’s hoping that I’m wrong. Anyone have any poult reports to share? We’d love to hear them!