Miley jumped a flock of about 30 wild turkeys this afternoon. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera on when they flew, and when I tried to get a perched bird in the telephoto lens, it must have thought I was armed and flew away.
There was actually snow on the ground. All of those overturned leaves were the result of the turkey excavating in the leaf litter. These oak trees have produced a very good mast this year, so the wildlife is well-provisioned this year.
The surplus mast is also why deer hunting was so difficult this year. The deer could forage deep in the woods and out of shooting range. They also didn’t have to move as much between stands of trees. They could just remain where the eating was good and the bullets weren’t flying.
Miley’s behavior and that of the turkeys is somewhat reminiscent of the old way of hunting them. In the old days, a man would go out with his dog. Breed didn’t matter. The dog merely had to have the instinct to hunt. The dog and man would go off, and when the dog found the turkeys, it would flush them. When turkeys are spooked, they fly into the trees, and that actually makes them quite vulnerable to the hunter’s gun.
In the days of market hunting, the wild turkey was wiped out. Right now, the numbers of this bird are on the increase, not just in West Virginia but throughout their historic range in both the United States and Canada.
Things are going well for this bird. Even though the species almost went extinct, it has made a remarkable comeback thanks to scientific management programs.
I may not have been able to get a good photo of a wild turkey, but I did capture this image:
It is incontrovertible proof that dogs and dinosaurs live at the same time!