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Turkey Food Plots - Planting & Managing

Growing A Wild Tomorrow!®

Wildlifeseeds.com- An Informational Website From Seedland.com

Turkey Gobblers in the WildTurkey's have been in America's history since the beginning. This beautiful bird has suffered setbacks due to habitat destruction, the use of pesticides and herbicides which kill the insects turkey's eat.

Whether you are a hunter or conservationist, planting food plots is one of the best things you can do for the preservation of these historical and unique birds.

Food Plots Help With Turkey Food Shortage

The wild turkey can range many miles in a day’s search for food and eats many a pound of insect and seeds along the way. There are many turkeys being released every year and in some regions of the country there may not be enough natural resources left to sustain large numbers. A well-planned food plot can help keep the birds in your area and with a better food source help to produce a trophy bird well worth the effort. The beautiful coloring and plumage results from good diets and there's lots of recipes for the cook to try out.

The turkey food problem is further compounded by the continual usage of insect and weed killers used in large quantities. This gets rid of the insects but also depletes the birds’ diet in the wild. It is left to the hunter or wildlife enthusiast to help supplement nature by planting food plots that are enticing to a variety of wildlife and attracting to the insects wildlife feeds upon. Wildflowers and weed seeds need to be sown along with the mixes that are planted. These should be wildflower seeds that are indigenous or rather native to the area and they will come back year after year. When planting food plots leave some weeds along side for added seed and insect attraction.

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Planning A Food Plot For Turkeys

Turkeys have an extensive menu when planning a food plot. Perennials and annuals alike can comprise a well  planned plot for years.  Perennials can be planted from legumes, grasses like Bahia that seed, weeds that attract insects and produce seed such as beggar weed, berry producing plants and many more. Annuals can be planted from legumes such as alfalfa, sesame, sesbania, chufa, peas of all kinds, millets, wheat, and many other plants. Check out our menu to the right on individual food plot seeds under Food Plot Seeds.

Plant food plots in spring and summer after frost danger, in deeply wooded plots with 50% sunshine and also along field edges with plots located about 300 yards apart. A prepared seedbed is best and broadcast making sure seed is covered no more than 1/4" maximum depth . For best results, harrow your site and broadcast / then cover the seeds. Lightly dragging with a log or post is an easy method of covering the seed. You should of course follow the instructions on your bag of seed.

These are two popular food plot seeds for turkey food plots:

Wild Turkey Food Plot Seed Mixture

40 lb. PENNINGTON Wild Turkey Mix*

Mixture of Orchardgrass, Buckwheat, Chufas, White Proso Millet, Sorghum, Browntop Millet and Patriot White Clover.

20% Browntop Millet
20% Buckwheat
20% White Proso Millet
15% Chufa Seed
15% Sorghum
0.5% Patriot White Clover
0.5% Orchardgrass

*Note: Mixture varieties and/or % of each are subject to change in turkey mix. Percentages will be slightly less due to inert material in mixture. Specific varieties included in mixture may change due to supply availability.

WILD TURKEY MIX SEED RATE:

A 40# bag of Wild turkey mix will cover approximately a little over an acre. It is a good idea to divide the acreage into smaller, separate plots for better results.

The best recommended planting rate is 40 lb. to the acre. These plots are not always planted under optimum weather conditions and thicker seeding  may be necessary.

Broadcast rates are higher than drilled.

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Growing Chufas For Turkey Food Plots

Chufas grow beneath the ground and will be scratched up by turkeys. (Deer and wild hogs eat these also).  Mixes are designed to have the plants maturing at different time rates to keep the plots active through the year and into fall, winter and spring months. Replant every year in rotating food plots food plots to form a feeding habit with the turkeys. Read more in-depth information about chufas.

Chufas are great for Wild Turkey - Some say the most preferred food you can plant for turkeys are these tuber producing plants.  Easy to grow too!

Fertilize Chufas for best results. Special Note: If you have never planted chufas you may need to dig a few and leave them on the surface but they will readily start scratching on their own once they have  been discovered. Chufas need to be rotated from plot to plot to keep the tubers from developing disease related to tuberous growths particularly nematode infestation. Chufas that are left in the ground will  re-grow the following year but with less production than the first year.

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Facts About Turkey Hunting & Habitat

Turkey hunting has become the number two sport in America today and may fast be approaching number one.

With the resurgence of a once dying population and the management practices conducted by wildlife officials the turkey numbers are booming and with this development comes renewed interest in the art of the turkey hunt.

I know in our area alone it is an almost daily occurrence to view several turkeys crossing from field to field or heading to roosting places late in the afternoon. These are usually hens and their young feeding through the pea fields and weeds full of seeds and insects. In the woods it is quite a different matter all together. Quiet and unassuming they can move as stealthily as any prey right past you without ever being seen. Unless you are specifically looking for these birds you might never see them in their natural habitat. Fast to take flight; and even this is done quietly to the uninitiated; they can be on the wing and gone in a matter of seconds. Quite a feat for a seemingly ungainly, heavy bird.

Turkeys live on seeds of various plants and insects and some tubers; and while we have increased the population we have decreased much of the natural vegetative growth that these birds rely upon for food, shelter, nesting sites and in some cases roosting sites. This is the reason that we must plant food plots for turkeys. Many people who have never hunted don't realize that turkeys roost up in the trees at night away from the ground predators.

In the "olden days" as the kids now call it; turkey hunting was as equipment intensive as grabbing the gun and heading out to the area that you saw tracks or sign of recent passing or knew the roosting sights and went about the time the turkeys were leaving or returning. As people walked and worked in the natural habitat notice was taken of any wildlife movement or habit that would make a potential meal. A successful hunt meant meat on the table.

Early man learned to imitate the calls of other animals drawing them into killing range (before the time of guns) and since then calls come a long way with every variety imaginable. And like learning the piano it takes practice and more practice. Back to the equipment. Nowadays we have camouflage, guns of every description, bows that practically anyone can use, those nice inflatable butt seats, scopes that zero in to the nth degree, gun rests, decoys, heated sox. You name it they got it or can devise it. Tapes that instruct one in the art of the hunt even a game designed to bag one on the computer!

Hunting with another person gives you a chance to use different call techniques and while only one may get the shot there’s always the next big one just waiting for the next hunt. Using someone else to call (hand held calls) also frees the other person to be ready at the first sight and not clumsily reaching for the gun and calling at the same time. And every hunter likes the satisfaction of someone else seeing his or her " bagged" trophy. Whether the hunt is successful or not you have spent a day with mother nature for a little while and gotten away from the stress and hectic lifestyle most of us lead and maybe that’s what it’s all about.

Turkey Gobbler Closeup
A Fine Turkey Gobbler. Turkey calls were made of bone in ancient times. We have provided a link here to the right to obtain modern day calls.

Turkey Watching & Turkey Calls

Not everyone hunts with guns or bows, instead they use the camera. What better way to spend a day in the woods seeing if you can call in that award winning picture.

And what a better way to spend a day with your children teaching them about the wildlife in your neck of the woods. They would sure enjoy learning the art of turkey calling. 


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