Dated: 11/06/2017

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The wild turkeys one sees upon occasion on road sides and walking in the woods represent one of the greatest wildlife management stories in the history of New Jersey. Wild turkeys were abundant throughout New Jersey and consumed by the Lenni Lenape Indians and early European settlers until aggressive commercial hunting and changing habitats had all but eradicated the population by the late 1800’s. New Jersey led the country during the Industrial Revolution with crops and wildlife such as waterfowl and turkeys being harvested en masse for the larger markets in New York and Philadelphia.

Image title                                                            Commercial deer and turkey hunters, circa 1870

In 1977, biologists with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife instituted a Turkey Restoration project and released 22 birds. Two years later, the project expanded to live trapping turkeys and relocating them to New Jersey. At present, it is estimated there are 20,000 - 23,000 wild turkeys in New Jersey and an annual hunting season for several days at the end of October into early November harvests approximately 3,000 birds.

For the most part, the turkeys in New Jersey are fairly tame, although during the breeding season male turkeys have been known to peck at flashy objects such as hubcaps and low-level signs. Of note, turkeys have a “pecking order,” and they may respond aggressively to reflections or images of other turkeys. They perceive the reflection or image as an “intruder” and will remember the location of that image coming back to it over and over again. The good thing is that turkeys, unlike raccoons or deer, are not active at night.

Image title

If one feeds a wild turkey, you can expect it to literally follow you. Most are three to four feet tall and weigh upwards of twenty pounds. The average turkey has 5500 feathers, and the male has eighteen large tail feathers that make up its distinct fan. They fly at speeds upwards of 55mph and can sprint up to 25mph. I’m your “Running Realtor” and that’s faster than I can scamper along, so I’ll be buying my turkey at the grocery store this coming holiday!

From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales….



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