The Myth: Removing a predator will increase wild turkey populations
The Truth: Removing a random predator from the landscape has no impact whatsoever on widespread turkey populations
Bobcats, coyotes, raccoons and skunks will eat eggs and baby turkeys, so to hunters it makes sense to remove those predators to boost turkey numbers. However, even if a hunter were to remove one species from an area, they’d only create a compensatory effect: another species will fill that void or individuals from the same species, from a different area, will move in.
Predator control can have an impact on turkeys, but it must be intense, targeted and sustained. Even that won’t guarantee significant results. Therefore, removing an occasional predator from you property makes no difference in local turkey populations.
The Myth: Habitat management will do so much more for turkeys than predator management
The Truth: YES! Birds with suitable habitat withstand predation much better than those with poor nesting and brood rearing habitat
Instead of worrying about predation, focus instead on improving you land’s habitat. Without good nesting habitat, eggs and poults are simply more vulnerable. Turkeys evolved to cope with predators. As long as they have a place to hide their nests and raise their young, they’ll do just fine without predator control.
Make the Truth Come True (with free help)
The NWTF’s regional biologists are always looking for landowners interested in making habitat improvements on their land. Most NWTF biologists will do a site visit and build a plan to meet your goals. Some states also have private lands biologists also do site visits and offer recommendations for improvements.
Hunters who rely on public land can work with their local NWTF chapter and state wildlife agency to improve habitat on public land.