The Florida Turkey
The Florida Osceola Turkey can only be found in Florida. Turkey hunting in south Florida can be
done with guides or on public lands. We would like to help you with your turkey hunts by helping you fine a guide
or pointing you in the direction of a big Tom turkey gobbler.
Florida has 2 species of turkeys, the Osceola and the Eastern. The
Osceola turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo Osceola)is the most sought after turkey
in Florida. No where else in the world can you find the subspecies known as the Osceola. The Osceola turkey gets
it's name from the Seminole Indian; Chief Osceola. The subspecies has occurred in south Florida because of it's
isolation from the rest of the continent. In the mid 1800s when the turkey population of North America dwindled
down to near extinction from hunting, the Florida Osceola thrived in the not so populated swamps of south Florida.
Humans could not access the turkeys home range of cypress swamps and pine islands. However it didn't take long for
man to subdue the wild's of Florida with roads, railways, and canals. The Osceola turkey population spiraled
downward to an estimated low of 20,000 in the early 1900's. Florida was the first state to protect and re-establish
it's wild turkey population. Starting in 1950 limits were placed on harvesting the birds and trapping and
relocating programs were put into practice. Today there are an estimated 250,000 birds in Florida.
Where to find the Osceola Turkey in Florida:
The Eastern and the Osceola are very similar birds. The noticeable differences in the 2
species are; The eastern is lighter in color and on average is a bigger bird. The
Osceola has longer legs and the white barring on the primary wing feathers is broken and doesn't extend
to the vane of the feather. See the picture of both Osceola and Eastern wing feathers.
The "pure" Osceola can only be found in the southern part of the state. The
state Fish and Game has drawn a line across the state showing where the Osceola's can be found. Above the line
the birds are Easterns. I have found Eastern turkeys well below this line. I personally recommend that hunters
in search of a good specimen of an Osceola, hunt as far south in Florida as you can. Fortunately for the
hunter, the state has millions of acres open to the public. Most public areas have good numbers of
Osceola turkeys. See the FloridaTurkey Hunting page for more
information about where to go.
Wild Turkey Life
Surviving in the wilds of the Everglades is no easy task for anyone much less a turkey. The
wild turkey is near the bottom of the food chain out here just above the acorn. Wild turkey hens in Florida
typically begin laying in late March or early April. Clutches average 10.3 eggs and take approximately 12-13 days
to lay. Eggs hatch after 25-26 days of continuous incubation. Poults will roost on the ground for the first 14 days
after hatching. During this period, approximately 70 percent mortality occurs, primarily through predation from
Coyotes, Foxes, Raccoons, Opossums, Armadillos, Skunks, Hawks, Eagles, Snakes, and more. Predators are
a dominant element in a wild turkey's environment and attempts to control predators is economically
unfeasible. Recreational and commercial trapping has become a rare endevor. Efforts are better spent developing and
maintaining good quality brood habitat which is the factor on wild turkey populations that is the most economically
feisable. Good brood habitat has one to three foot vegetation. open enough to provide unimpeded movement
for young poults, yet dense enough to provide cover from predators. Good brood habitat also provides seeds,
insects, and greens for poults to feed upon.
Florida Turkey Hunting Land For Sale