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Colonial Turkey Trap

 
D. Logan
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In the colonial period, turkey were trapped using a method that exploits their limited problem solving abilities. A ditch or trench was dug large enough that a turkey could pass along the bottom comfortably without getting caught. Along the top of the trench, it was covered with sticks, leaves and dirt so that it formed into a tunnel with an opening at either end. Over one of these holes, a pen was created using sticks stacked like Lincoln Logs so that there were gaps that could be easily seen through. Over the top, more sticks and heavy items were laid so that it held the whole structure sound.



With the trap built, flint corn was tossed around the inside of the pen near and into the hole as well as around the exterior hole similarly. The turkeys who happened along would find the corn and follow it through the tunnel into the pen. Once there, it would find itself trapped. Seeing the outside, it would try to go out the sides of the structure and continue circling trying to find a way out. Because the tunnel was in the middle and dark, the birds never realized they could go that way to escape.

Quite a few turkey could be caught this way and it was not unheard of for the colonists to leave the pens go for several weeks, resulting in a lot of dead birds. I think as more compassionate people, we could use this technique and catch a few wild turkeys when we needed them without having to damage the local populations and letting them live wild instead of having to raise them ourselves. Happier birds, easier farming. Everyone wins (except the one who gets eaten, but even then it lived a good life). I just thought this would be an interesting thing to do for anyone who happens to think like I do and who has access to wild turkey populations.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Seems like the folks at Pauls lab just posted some pictures of turkeys up there. Hmmm?
 
John Polk
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For those weighing the question "is it worth it to grow your own corn?", you have added fuel to the "yes" column.
If I can trade a couple ears of corn for a turkey, it seems like a good trade to me.

 
Sam Barber
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Hmmmm..... I am going to look into the legality of this and maybe try it we have dozens of turkeys that run around here every day.
 
D. Logan
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Different states/countries have different rules regarding trapping. I have lived in a few where they allow absolutely now trapping of any sort, but most only worry about regulating certain types of trapping or certain times of year. Most states have a clause that allows for trapping and hunting year round if the situation is deemed 'survival' in nature. Depending on how you live, that could be year round. Probably not though. More than likely it is a matter of turkey season. I also seem to recall that some states don't regulate hunting and fishing on private property.
 
John Polk
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Many (most?) states allow a farmer/rancher to kill wild animals if they are damaging crops, or endangering livestock.

"Hey! The S.O.B was eating my corn! Pass the gravy."

 
Sam Barber
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Well the turkeys did destroy our compost patch... I wonder if that would hold up in court? Compost defense...
 
D. Logan
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I am pretty sure they would call your defense a pile of garbage. In all honesty though, if it is on your own land, I doubt anyone is going to care unless you go depopulating the local turkeys.
 
John Polk
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In all honesty though, if it is on your own land, I doubt anyone is going to care unless you go depopulating the local turkeys.


It's not like you're going to parade the thing around town, strapped to the fender of your truck.

 
Ray Star
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I heard a story, by an acquaintance, who told a story of how he caught wild turkey by burying chicken wire with some hay, and throwing cracked corn over it. The turkeys would get thier feet caught in the fencing while they scratched for the corn. He said he would walk up and ring their necks while they stood there. 'course he was empting my septic tank, while he told us the tale, so I don't know how much was just "shit talk"
 
Abe Connally
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When I was a boy, we trapped a lot of quail and small birds with the tunnel method. It's easier with birds of that size, because you just put a cage on top of the tunnel and a little seed inside the cage.
 
Steve Hoskins
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Around here, wild turkeys mostly eat in the edges of the same conventional farms that represent my concerns about the state of agricuture today. Much more so than deer. It makes me nervous about eating them.

One came and ate some of my rye last year but my cat scared it away! Good kitty! Point being, they like rye too, so it's hard to make trapping game an excuse for corn. Better arguments include:
Corn grits, corn bread, corn pancakes, cornmeal in your fried (anything) batter, and cornmeal dusted under your pizza.

And
Regarding departments that make you sad,

A farmer around here shot some turkeys that were living in his vineyard doing a lot of damage. He certainly would have been given permits to kill them if he called the right people, but he did not.
One of them had a GPS tag in the meat. Dept of making you sad was led to a freezer.
So yeah, make sure you aren't poaching.
 
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