Wild turkeys struggle to survive harsh winter

February 26, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's wild turkeys are struggling to survive this year's harsh winter.

The state Department of Natural Resources says wild turkey numbers are likely to be down during the spring hunting season.

Turkeys get most of their food, such as seeds, acorns, and young plants, off the ground. But in parts of northern Wisconsin, that food is now buried under more than two feet of snow. Heavy snowfalls can also prevent turkeys from moving where food is available.

Bird expert Laura Erickson tells Wisconsin Public Radio the winter is making life tough for turkeys, with some individual birds' weights being "extremely low."

Scott Walter, an upland wildlife ecologist for the DNR, says the agency is seeing isolated pockets of dead turkeys, likely trapped and starved by deep snow.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, www.wpr.org