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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.

Turkey in Lincoln NE. Photo by Donna VantasselWild Turkey Control

Scientific NameMeleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey)


  • Nest on the ground. Nests average 10-12 eggs per clutch.
  • Roost in trees
  • Excellent eye sight and hearing
  • Populations have been increasing around the country because of proper wildlife management and changes in land-use.
  • Turkeys have even entered urban areas as this one did in Lincoln, NE. Photo by Donna Vantassel.


Tracks have the characteristic three toes. They can also be quite open about making their presence known. Urban turkey image couresty of Matt Grady of BatGuys.

Caste of a turkey track. Photo by Stephen VantasselWild turkey in a residential neighborhood. Photo by Matt Grady.


  • Minimal damage to crops
  • Have been known to damage motor vehicle paint by their pecking at their reflection on the car. We have received one report of side view mirrors being broken by turkey pecking.
  • Below roost sites, droppings can become quite unsightly

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Fencing: Although turkeys can fly, they prefer to walk so fencing would interfere with their preferred movement.
  • Mowing: Keep grass cut like an ordinary lawn to prevent seed production.
  • Remove bird feeders.
  • Cut down roost trees.
  • Install bird spikes or netting to keep birds off ledges and off balconies.
  • Bird wire "spiders" have been used successfully.

Frightening Devices and Repellents

  • Hazing of Roosts:
    • Red laser: shine laser in their eyes to cause flight.
    • Pyro-technics: Turkeys are quite sensitive to light and sound. Use may be locally restricted. Devices do pose fire and injury risks.
    • Haze birds with water by keeping a "super soaker" water gun at the ready.


  • Net gunning is an option. Consult local laws.


  • Consult local hunting laws


  • None available



  • Turkeys are not known to be a siginificant reservoir of diseases for humans. However, like all birds, they can be host to ticks and other ectoparasites.

Legal issues regarding turkeysLegal Issues

  • Turkeys are protected game animals in most states. Permits would be needed to perform lethal control on this species.

Living With Turkeys


Publications & Resources



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