How Long Do Wild Turkeys Live?

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Wild turkeys are not native to North America, but they have thrived in the continent for centuries.
These birds live in colonies and can be found in a variety of habitats, from woodlands to deserts. They are omnivorous, eating a variety of plants and animals.
The common belief is that wild turkeys cannot live outside of captivity, but recent discoveries suggest that this may not be the case.
In fact, there are reports of wild turkeys being found living in the wild in states such as North Carolina and Tennessee.
Scientists aren’t sure how these birds have managed to survive in states where they are not native, but they believe that their ability to adapt and find food in new areas has helped them to do so.

Have you ever wondered How long do wild turkeys live and how to estimate their age when you go hunting?

This question can be very difficult to answer because so many factors affect the appearance and age of a wild turkey.

However, if you are a hunter, you should know exactly how to have a more effective and convenient hunting trip.

Please read the article below, as it will provide useful information to help you answer those questions.

How Long Do Wild Turkeys Live?

How Long Do Wild Turkeys Live?

About Wild Turkeys

About Wild Turkeys

Wild turkeys belong to the family of birds, which can be found in all regions of Mexico except the southernmost and southeastern areas.

You can also find them in some places in Canada like Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba. 

In addition, countries such as the Czech Republic, West Germany, and some parts of the South Pacific islands are also home to wild turkeys.

Wild turkeys are omnivores, and they can feed on the ground or in bushes.

Their food can be nuts, leaves, roots, insects, and sometimes amphibians or small reptiles, which are also their food.

Because the food source is quite diverse, they grow quite quickly and reach large numbers.

Wild turkeys are usually quite docile and not aggressive towards humans.

However, when scared or startled, they can get angry and chase every object around.

Therefore, you should be careful, avoid making noise, and get close to them when hunting.

Why Do People Hunt Wild Turkeys?

Why Do People Hunt Wild Turkeys

To see why people hunt wild turkeys, let’s explore the importance of wild turkeys then and today.

In the past

In some parts of the United States, wild turkeys are symbols of prosperity, often present during festivals and Thanksgiving.

In this era, people have not domesticated turkeys yet, so they still hunt wild turkeys.

Native American tribes considered them a symbol of fertility and abundance.

Therefore, they used them as sacrifices in many rites of gratitude and rebirth.

The Creek tribes also have turkey dances and will perform them during festive seasons every year.

The feathers of turkeys are also used in rituals.

Also, in ancient Mexican culture, people considered turkeys to be sacred animals.

In Maya, Aztec and Toltec, people refer to turkeys as “jeweled birds” because of their colorful plumage.


Today, turkeys are still a symbol of prosperity and gratitude to the United States and some other countries around the world.

Although they have raised turkeys, many people still love wild turkeys because of their firmness and toughness.

Turkeys are a popular product consumed in large quantities on important festive events such as Christmas, New Year, or Thanksgiving.

Not only having a symbolic meaning, but turkeys are also a type of meat that provides a high protein content, so it is popular with everyone. 

How Long Do Wild Turkeys Live For?

Wild turkeys typically have an average lifespan of two to three years.

However, in some special cases, they can live up to 15 years.

Why is there such a big difference between the average lifespan and the maximum achievable lifespan of wild turkeys?

Although you cannot predict exactly how many years wild turkeys can live, I will tell you a few factors that affect their lifespan.

These factors help you determine why some wild turkeys live longer and some wild turkeys shorter.

Factors Affecting The Lifespan Of Wild Turkeys

As noted above, the lifespan of wild turkeys will be affected by several factors:


The first factor affecting the lifespan of wild turkeys is the habitat because this is the place to provide food and shelter for them.

Like other species, wild turkeys are quite sensitive to their habitat.

Any change in the habitat, even the smallest, can affect the health and longevity of this animal.

Habitat can affect food availability, shelter, disease, or predator proliferation…

All of which can pose a threat to the lifespan of wild turkeys.


The second factor that affects the lifespan of wild turkeys besides the main habitat is the weather.

Wild turkeys will live longer with good climate conditions, and conversely, survival rates will decrease when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Danger of hunting and breeders

You probably already know that the lifespan of wild turkeys will be longer when they are in restricted hunting areas instead of in a natural place with no signs.

Therefore, to protect wild turkeys from extinction, local authorities in the area should issue a hunting ban.

As for wild turkeys being domesticated, their lifespan will depend on the person raising them.


And the final factor that affects the lifespan of wild turkeys is gender.

Studies show that male turkeys have a longer lifespan than female turkeys.

Female turkeys have an average lifespan of about 2 to 3 years, while male turkeys can live 6 to 7 years. 

How To Determine The Age Of Wild Turkeys?

People divide the lifespan of wild turkeys into stages according to their age.

At each stage, wild turkeys will have different identifiers to help you identify them.

Wild turkeys 1-year-old

One-year-old wild turkeys typically have a 0.5-inch spur with a rounded tip.

They have amber plumage with a length of 3-5 inches.

Wild turkeys 2 years old

If you see wild turkeys 0.5-1 inch spurs with long, straight tips, they are 2 years old.

Their fur is 7-9 inches long and is the same amber color as one year old.

Wild turkey 3 years old and up

When wild turkeys are 3 years old, they will have longer, more pointed, and sharper spurs.

Their coat will be longer and will no longer remain amber instead of black.


Thus, the above article has helped you answer all questions about the lifespan of wild turkeys.

The article enables you to gain more knowledge and helps you have more effective hunting.

So, you can also apply it when you intend to raise wild turkeys. 

See more articles in the category: Hunting

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