Creating Wild Turkey Habitat

| Last Updated September 27, 2020

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If you're a wild turkey hunter, you may want to forego hunting public- or permitted-private land like a farm, and create your own turkey habitat on land that you own. Many hunters simply tire of having to get the yearly permission to hunt private land and want to insure their own year-in-year-out ability to get a nice bird without any hassles. Indeed, hunters will often join together to purchase available land -- be they family or friends -- and it's a lot easier if there's a group working together to get things ready and maintain the habitat.

Land can vary considerably in quality and size. You're going to first have to find land that has a stand of taller trees which the turkeys will use to roost at night. Then, of course, you need a nearby area of existing clear land to plant, or land that you have to clear of trees, rocks and stumps. Having a nearby water source never hurts either.

If you're not a "Farmer Brown," and have the funds, there are companies that actually put in turkey habitat and food plots. This can get very costly, and because of that, most hunters will rent a dozer, knock down a few trees, till the dirt, take out the rocks, and go down to a local feed mill and pick up some seed. There are also a multitude of companies that can be found on-line that will ship you an excellent single crop, or a mixed, wildlife blend that will exactly suit what the turkeys will want. Indeed, these specialized blends will insure that the turkeys who eat it will grow rapidly, and big.

Habitat can range from a small plot to large acreage. It depends on how much land is available for use. If the land you have is not cleared or tillable or is really not fit for much clearing, some hunters will use specialized blends of seed that are specifically engineered to grow in harsher soil or difficult land conditions. In all candor, these types of plots may work, but not nearly as well as cleared land. Indeed, without tilling or good land clearance, weeds will often choke out the plantings that are made. Don't expect miracles if you're not willing to put in the work -- or if the land itself is ill-suited for crops.

Regardless of the land or soil conditions, it is essential that before you plant, you "lime" the soil, and leave it for a month or so to "soak in" to make what you plant grow at the best possible rate. Plant in the spring so that the habitat will be ready to go for the fall hunt, and then if it's a hardy crop, it'll be ready for the next Spring's hunt as well -- and this cycle can regenerate itself year after year.

Avid turkey hunter and guide Phil Schweik says that he and his father cleared land for habitat and planted a plot ten years ago using perennial seeds; and the plot, with minimal care, has maintained itself successfully for all that time – indeed, Schweik notes that as an added bonus, his turkey habitat attracts some very nice deer. After planting, cover the plot with straw to hold in moisture. When the warm weather comes, the plantings will erupt, and the straw can be removed.

The bottom-line is to recognize that the more work you do, the better the results. Tilling, turning over the soil, weeding, bulldozing, clearing, planting annuals or perennials, and determining what specific crop(s) you want for the maximum attraction to the turkeys all come into play. It's not at all easy and requires at least some continuing "tender loving care." You can always tell if your habitat is working -- as the turkeys will literally "settle" in your habitat area, and you can relax, knowing that you have your own private spot to successfully hunt season after season.

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My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.