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What impact does everyone think extended snow and ice is having on the turkey population in different part of the state?
 

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I am sure the snow conditions vary greatly across the state.

Here we have a crust on top of the snow, except for the four inches of new snow we just got last night and this morning.

Everyone thinks crusted snow is hard on turkeys. It isn't. The fact is that a crust on deep snow is great for turkeys. As long as turkeys can walk on the top of the snow, which crust makes easy, they will have no trouble finding food. They will eat all kinds of different seeds they find on top of the snow. They will get in the hemlocks and eat all the hemlock seeds they want. They will fly up in trees and eat buds. They will get to the spring seeps or plowed roads to find grit.

What is hard on turkeys is deep powdery snow where they have to expend a lot of energy plowing through it. When you have deep powder snow turkeys will get in spring seeps, looking for both food and grit, and get their legs, wings and tails wet. Then when they start plowing through the deep powdery snow their wet feathers start collecting snow that turns to big ice balls under their wings or tail. That will eventually make it impossible for them to fly to roost or to avoid predation as well as makes them likely to die from exposure.

Nope, as long as turkeys have good mobility they will be just fine on the snow. Crusted snow is just about a best case scenario for turkeys in the winter.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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RSB, any truth to turkeys beards getting frozen to limbs and part of it getting broken off? If so is that mostly just ice type of storms.
 

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I have always heard a gobblers beard can wear down dragging on the ice. I have no idea if this is true....
 

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Makes sense to me. They have to drink water even when its sub zero. It's hard to keep that paint brush out of the water. So yeah, frozen beards breaking off probably happen.
 

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RSB, any truth to turkeys beards getting frozen to limbs and part of it getting broken off? If so is that mostly just ice type of storms.
I wouldn't suspect very many, if any, gobblers have their beards frozen to tree limbs or such but it does seem likely they will wear the end of their beards down if it drags on the ground. But, turkeys walking on the top of crusted snow isn't going to be any different for the beard than a turkey walking on bare ground. If it drags it probably has some wear affect on the beard.

Over the years of my turkey trapping though I encountered a couple adult gobblers that didn't have any beard at all though. I don't know if they once had one and it somehow got pulled off or if they just never had one at all.

One morning we had a capture with a number of turkeys under the nest. In that capture we had two bearded hens and an adult gobbler without any trace of a beard. I told the trapping crew we should pull the beards from the two hens and super glue them to the gobbler to make them all antinomically correct. We didn't do it but I can't say the thought of doing it never crossed my mind.

In fact I think this site's member BobB might have been on the trapping crew that morning.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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That was the ANF Dick. Man was it cold that morning. You said the flock would show up early and you were right. Was I ever glad of that!
I covered that gobbler with an old bedspread while it was under the netting and after a while I swear it was uttering these low growl-like sounds. I wasn't sure if I wanted to release him for fear of having him beat the H out of me. :)
 

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I have always heard a gobblers beard can wear down dragging on the ice. I have no idea if this is true....
no.... they step on their beards which is what breaks the strands
 
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Opening day of NY season about 8-10 years ago we were walking through a picked corn field and there was a turkey beard just laying on the ground. Looked just like it was plucked from his breast.
 

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Wow! very strange....... If you ask "Bobo" he would tell you that is proof it was a Bigfoot.
 
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