Few things are as thrilling as the gobble of a wild turkey, and
few places can rival Mississippi for thundering long-bearded
gobblers. Mississippians have a rich tradition of chasing
wary spring toms, and over the last three decades the state has
consistently boasted one of the largest turkey populations in the
country. With over a quarter of a million birds from the
Delta to the Gulf, hunters should have no problem finding a gobbler
in the Magnolia State.
Today, wild turkeys are
abundant across the State of Mississippi, but that hasn't always
been the case. During the early 1900's, due to neglect for
conservation, turkeys were nearly hunted into extinction.
Lack of game laws left turkey populations exposed to year-round
hunting by both locals and market hunters. To make matters
worse, much of the state's forests were in poor condition because
of early over-harvest and misuse of timber resources. During
the first 5 decades of the 20th century, the springtime woods
across most of the state were void of the sound of wild
turkeys. However, the tide began to turn for turkeys by the
1950's. At the request of concerned sportsmen, natural
resource professionals began to trap wild turkeys from isolated
pockets of habitat that still contained intact populations and
move them to other regions of the state. Their efforts were
successful, and over the course of the next few decades, turkey
populations exploded, peaking in the late 1980's. Today, the
return of the wild turkey to Mississippi and much of the rest of
the Southeastern United States is considered one of wildlife
conservation's greatest success stories.
Although turkeys can be found in a variety of different habitat
types, proper habitat management is essential for maintaining
ideal conditions for the birds. Turkey habitat management can
involve a variety of practices, including prescribed burning,
timber harvest, creation of wildlife openings, food plots, and
much more. Biologists from the MDWFP are dedicated to helping
landowners create and maintain excellent turkey habitat.
If you are interested in learning more about managing wild turkeys,
Wild Turkey Habitat Management page for more information, or
contact one of the Turkey Program Biologists listed below to
schedule a free site visit to your property!
Wild Turkey Program
Rules & Regulations