One of the very best parts of hunting is that you never know what you’re going to see. When you hunt, you immerse yourself in nature and conceal your presence with camouflage. That allows you to witness nature through an undisturbed lens you just can’t replicate with other outdoor activities. Sometimes that puts you in a position to see something spectacular. Like this massive parade of roughly 135 wild turkeys passing in front of a hunter’s blind in Missouri.
The video was initially shared by the Missouri Department of Conservation on Twitter. It was recorded by a guy named Jonny Snyder who was muzzleloader hunting for deer at the time. Since he wasn’t turkey hunting, he was happy to just kick back, relax, and enjoy the scene unfolding in front of him.
Wild Turkeys Tend To Flock Up During Colder Winter Months
A flock of turkeys rolling this deep during turkey hunting season would be a rare sight to see. That’s because turkeys seasonally change their flock dynamics. According to Mossy Oak Gamekeepers, wild turkey flocks are usually the largest during winter months. That’s when they gather in areas that provide safety and have adequate food sources and roosting sites.
Based on the video footage from Missouri, it was likely a flock full of mostly female birds with some younger males following behind.
Dr. Mike Chamberlain, one of the premier turkey scientists in the world, explains. “Winter flocks are segregated by sex, with hens hanging out in large flocks and toms usually in smaller flocks. Jakes will also form flocks, but they will often closely associate with hen flocks. It’s not unusual to see hen flocks being followed by groups of jakes, or for groups of jakes to show up in the same foraging areas being used by hens. As winter ends, all of those flocks will begin to dissolve as birds end up in social groups.”
Social Interactions Between Turkeys Change Drastically As Spring Rolls Around
Turkey’s get way too dramatic for them to be seen in groups this big come springtime. That’s because mating season brings out the competitive nature of the species. Big tom turkeys strutting their stuff with their feathers fanned out is a magnificent sight. It’s not just for show though, the male birds often have to fight it out before the hens let them get physical.
Dr. Chamberlain explains further. “As spring approaches, we suddenly see many changes in how wild turkeys structure themselves and interact with each other. The large winter flocks dissolve into smaller groups that leave areas they used all winter, often shifting their home range quite a distance, even miles. All winter, flocks of hens focused on food resources and safety – with spring approaching, they begin looking for areas with suitable nesting habitats and quality foraging resources. This shift in behaviors is one reason we have turkeys appear to vanish overnight from properties where we’re seeing them, or suddenly show up out of the blue where they haven’t been seen for months.”