The Eastern wild turkey has the largest range of all of the six subspecies of wild turkey. It covers the eastern half of the U.S. from Maine to northern Florida and west to Minnesota and eastern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Its range is in blue below.
|Range map from the National Wild Turkey Federation.|
In a recent visit to Minnesota we were in Fort Snelling State Park, relatively close to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. There we encountered a rafter, crop, dole, gang, posse and raffle (all names for a group) of Eastern wild turkeys.
|There are at least 9 turkeys in this picture and there were many more than this.|
There are about 5.3 million Eastern wild turkeys and they are the most heavily hunted of all the turkey subspecies.
Their upper tail coverts are tipped with chestnut brown. These are the turkeys encountered by the first European settlers to the U.S. and the turkeys used at the first Thanksgiving.
They can reach 30 pounds in weight. We had an Eastern wild turkey for Thanksgiving in 2012, raised on a farm in California.