Misconceptions of Wild Turkey Management
Take into consideration a few misconceived ideas the next time you set out to do some wild turkey land management. You could be doing more harm than good.
Fiction: If I cut my timber I will lose my wild turkeys.
Fact: Harvesting timber can actually improve wildlife habitat if done correctly. To ensure your timber harvest is done correctly, consult a forester and a wildlife biologist.
Fiction: Using pesticides and herbicides on my land will harm the animals on my property.
Fact: Proper use of herbicides is a great tool to enhance habitat for wildlife. For example, the chemical Arsenal is a commonly-used, selective herbicide used in pine stands to control hardwood brush in the understory to dramatically enhance habitat for many species of wildlife including the wild turkey.
Fiction: I cut my timber and left the smallest buffer of uncut timber along the creeks as outlined in Best Management Practices. This will provide good wildlife habitat.
Fact: Best Management Practice guidelines were established primarily to protect water quality. If wildlife habitat is high on your priority list, wider buffers are often necessary. A wildlife biologist can help determine the best width for your property.
Fiction: I see a few wild turkeys, but it seems that predators are killing most of the birds. I am starting a predator control program to fix this problem.
Fact: While predator hunting and trapping are fun activities, attempting to control predator populations does not work well and can be expensive. The best, most cost-efficient way to manage for wild turkeys is to manage for habitat that is preferred by wild turkeys.
Fiction: I hear that prescribed fire is great for wildlife, but the risk is too high.
Fact: Done properly, prescribed fire is very safe and inexpensive. A trained forester or wildlife biologist will help you determine the best course of action to make your prescribed fire safe and effective. Some states even have laws that protect practitioners of prescribed fire.