How Fast Can A Turkey Run? Discover Surprising Truth About Speed of A Turkey! - (2023)

Knowing the prey’s speed and agility as a hunter is essential for a successful hunt. One of the most often-asked questions about turkey hunting is, “How fast can a turkey run?” Planning a hunting strategy requires understanding a turkey’s maximal speed and mobility since it affects how fast it can avoid danger and how much land it can cover before blending into the undergrowth. This essay will examine a turkey’s sprinting prowess and provide insights on how it may impact your hunting experience. So be ready to discover more about the speedy and elusive wild turkey!

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How fast can a turkey run?

Turkeys can run for brief periods at up to 25 mph speeds, making them competent runners. According to some accounts, they can reportedly sprint up to 35 miles per hour. However, estimates of their speed of Movement differ. Turkeys may run as fast as 40 mph when they’re being followed by a predator. Keep in mind that turkeys can fly at rates of up to 55 miles per hour over short distances. However, it is generally acknowledged that they can run at 20 to 25 mph speeds.

Body structure and characteristics

External body parts that Influence Movement

Turkey Body partFunction
WingsUsed for flight and balance
TailUsed for flight and balance
ThighsUsed for movement and strength
HocksUsed for movement and stability
ShanksUsed for support and balance
SpursUsed for defense and dominance
ClawsUsed for grasping and perching
ToesUsed for balance and support
FeathersUsed for insulation, body covering, and flight

Average weight and height of a turkey

TurkeyAverage weight (kg)Average length (cm)
Domestic male turkey10130
Domestic female turkey5100
Wild male turkey(11-24)99-124
Wild female turkey2.7-5.476-95

Turkey feather shapes and their functions

Feather shapeFunction
Contour feathersForm the body shape and provide insulation
Down feathersProvide insulation and maintain body temperature
Bristle feathersProtect the eyes and nostrils
FiloplumesProvide sensory information and help with balance
SemiplumesProvide insulation and help with aerodynamics
Flight feathersProvide lift and maneuverability during flight
Tail feathersProvide lift and maneuverability during flight
Coverts or wing bowsProtect the wings during flight
HacklesUsed for display and as a defense mechanism

Movement of a Turkey

Turkeys have various mobility options, including running, flying, swimming, and strolling. However, walking or running on the ground is their preferred propulsion. They can only fly a short distance and are not powerful flyers.

Types of Turkeys and Their Unique Features

Domesticated and wild turkeys come in various varieties, each with special traits. Some of the distinctions between the many varieties of turkeys are highlighted in the following table:

Type of TurkeyUnique Features
Wild TurkeyLonger legs, thinner body, darker feathers, better flier
Broad Breasted White TurkeyWhite feathers, larger breast, meatier body
Bronze TurkeyBrownish-bronze feathers, good foragers, adaptable to different climates
Bourbon Red TurkeyRed feathers with white bars, docile temperament, flavorful meat
Narragansett TurkeyGray-brown feathers with black bars, calm demeanor, good foragers
Black TurkeyBlack feathers, good foragers, slower growers, flavorful meat

Running Speed of a Turkey

Type of TurkeyWild TurkeyDomestic Turkey
Average Running Speed (mph)25-30 mph8-12 mph
Maximum Running Speed (mph)55 mph25 mph

Factors that Affect the Running Speed of a Turkey

TerrainTurkey speed depends on ground type. Turkeys run quicker on level and hard grounds than on soft or uneven ground.
WeatherCooler temperature makes turkeys run quicker. Overheating slows turkeys.
Predator threatTurkeys sprint faster to avoid predators.
MotivationFood and mating prospects may inspire turkeys to run faster.
Health and ageTurkeys are speedier when young and healthy.
GeneticsTurkey running speed depends on breed and heredity. Some strains of turkeys have been specifically bred for faster running ability.

How Turkeys Use Their Speed to Outsmart Hunters?

The speed and agility of wild turkeys are well recognized, and they often employ these qualities to avoid hunters. These birds can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, making them tough for even the most skilled hunters to capture. To escape being hunted, turkeys don’t only depend on their speed, however. They also outwit predators by using their sharp senses and innate instincts. Because of where their eyes are located on the sides of their heads, they can see in a full 270 degrees. Hunters find it difficult to sneak up on them since they are very alert and can hear or sense even the smallest Movement.

The fact that turkeys often loop around and approach hunters from behind might throw them off guard and make it harder to acquire a clear shot. Overall, hunting wild turkeys is a difficult but rewarding activity for many hunters due to the high level of patience, skill, and comprehension of turkey behavior required.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum running speed of a turkey?

A turkey’s top running speed may change based on several variables, including age, health, and weight. Turkeys can probably run between 20 and 25 miles per hour, however estimates vary. Turkeys can normally run between 15 and 35 miles per hour. Strong legs that enable them to sprint up to 25 mph make wild turkeys well-renowned for helping them avoid predators. Wild turkeys can also fly briefly at up to 60 mph, while their top flying speed is approximately 55 mph. However, domesticated turkeys have given up their ability to fly and run as quickly as their wild counterparts in favor of larger, meatier breasts and legs.

How fast can wild turkeys run in comparison to farmed turkeys?

A wild turkey may reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, but the fastest a tamed bird can go is about 10 miles per hour. This results from domesticated turkeys being developed to have bigger, more meaty breasts and legs at the expense of their ability to sprint and fly. The size and weight of wild turkeys also vary, with males ranging between 11 and 24 pounds and females much less. As a result of their breeding for size, domesticated turkeys may weigh up to 50 pounds.

What factors can affect a turkey's running speed?

The pace at which a turkey runs may vary depending on several variables, including age, health, weight, climate, and terrain. A healthy turkey can move up to 10 miles per hour on average, while there have been isolated instances of brief bursts of 20 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are able to avoid being eaten by predators like foxes, coyotes, and raccoons because they have a top speed of 25 miles per hour. However, they only maintain their top speed briefly and mainly use it to escape danger. Finally, it can be said that a turkey’s running speed depends on various variables and is typically not maintained over long distances.

How can wild turkeys make use of their speed and agility?

The speed and agility that turkeys are renowned for helping them survive in the wild. They can run at high rates of up to 25 and 40 mph while being pursued by predators because of their muscular legs. Although they can fly briefly, they prefer to run and use their agility to move through the underbrush and dense forest. Since they can eat a wide variety of foods, turkeys utilize their speed to forage over broad areas in search of seeds, insects, and berries. They can see potential predators from further away because of their monocular, periscopic eyesight. They can swiftly shift their trajectory, allowing them to avoid predators and move through their surroundings.

Can a turkey outrun a human?

Turkeys can run at a maximum pace of 25 mph, quicker than the typical person. Although a person can outrun a turkey, the bird is known to be swift and agile and can quickly turn to avoid predators. Furthermore, turkeys can take off into flight if they get a running start, making them even more difficult to catch. It can be sufficient to make oneself huge and noisy to scare away a hostile turkey if you come across one. Given that turkeys are rarely aggressive against humans and are, in fact, more likely to be pursued by humans than the other way around, it is important to stress that they are not a species that people should be afraid of escaping from.

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How fast can a turkey run when spooked? ›

A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. They can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.

How fast can turkeys run on the ground? ›

Poults develop more of a taste for plants after they're four weeks old. TURKEY FACT #6: They may look off-kilter — tilting their heads and staring at the sky — yet they're fast. Turkeys can clock 18 miles per hour on foot and up to 50 miles per hour in flight. TURKEY FACT #7: Move over, American bald eagle.

Can a turkey run 20 mph? ›

Despite being the heaviest bird among the family of Galliformes or ground fowl, the turkey can fly at an astonishing speed of 55 mph (in short spurts) and can run up to 20 mph.

Can wild turkeys run 25 mph? ›

Despite their large size, wild turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph and fly up to 55 mph.

Will spooked turkeys return? ›

The gobbler wanted to be where you were when you spooked him. So, after he thinks you're gone, and he hears a hen softly calling, there's a very good chance he may come back in that direction. Remember — the gobbler has a limited number of days to breed.

Can gobbling turkeys be heard a mile away? ›

They don't just gobble, they make a lot of different sounds.

In fact, turkeys make all kinds of sounds: fly-down or fly-up cackle; kee kee run; excited yelp and more. A male turkey's gobble can be heard up to a mile away. Hear them all, thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

What time of day are most turkeys killed? ›

Time of Day — Many hunters are in the woods before dawn, and most turkeys are killed before 8 a.m. However, turkey hunting after 8 a.m. can be rewarding.

How far do turkeys roam in a day? ›

In fact, it is not uncommon for individual gobblers to move as much as 1.5 and 2 miles a day or up to 3–4 miles a week! We have also been studying roost site fidelity to better understand how loyal gobblers are to certain roost areas.

How far can you shoot a turkey with a 20 gauge? ›

There is one disadvantage to hunting with a 20 gauge instead of a 12, and as you may have already guessed, it is effective range. You will have to work the bird about 10 yards closer—a maximum range of about 30 yards—to make a killing shot.

What is the best range to shoot a turkey? ›

A good rule of thumb for shotgun shooters is 40 yards. Anything further than that and there's a good chance you might not hit the head and neck with enough pellets to kill the bird. Any closer than 20 yards and your pellet pattern may not have time to open up enough for maximum effectiveness.

How far do turkey loads shoot? ›

Lead Turkey Loads

A good compromise is #5 copper-plated lead pellets loaded in a 12-gauge 3-inch magnum shot shell. With this setup, you'll be good out to 40 yards, and perhaps 50 if your gun is patterned tight.

Why don't we use turkey eggs? ›

They reportedly taste just as good as chicken eggs—or even better, according to some people—but the eggs laid by this all-American bird are impractical to produce. According to Modern Farmer, selling turkey eggs isn't economically feasible for most farmers already raising the birds for slaughter.

Are turkeys intelligent? ›

They are incredibly curious and inquisitive animals who enjoy exploring. Turkeys are highly intelligent animals who, just like the dogs and cats in our homes, are playful individuals with unique personalities. Turkeys form strong social bonds and show affection towards one another.

Will turkeys move in heavy rain? ›

If rainfall is heavy at daylight, turkeys will often delay flying down. It's not uncommon for them to sit on the limb for an hour or more after sunrise in a deluge. But, if rain hits after flocks are on the ground, the game changes. Turkeys will usually move to open fields or edge cover.

What happens when a turkey is frightened? ›

3. When a turkey is frightened, its head turns blue. 4. The change in the color of the feathers is because of the structure of the feathers.

Do turkeys spook easily? ›

Scare away problem turkeys

It's easy to scare turkeys away by making noises (try waving your arms and yelling or blowing a whistle), popping open an umbrella, throwing tennis balls, or dousing the turkey with water from a hose or squirt gun. A leashed dog may also be effective in scaring a turkey away.

Do turkeys get scared? ›

Noises and Other Disturbances

As a result of sharing space with hawks, raccoons and the occasional badger, turkeys have developed an instinctive avoidance of loud noises. You can take advantage of this aversion by making some kind of noisemaker that will be loud enough to spook the birds from across the lawn.

What to do when a turkey won't come in? ›

So, a more productive tactic is to quit calling, and the turkey may come in when you quit answering him. If he doesn't come in, let him walk off, and plan to hunt that turkey another day from a different location.

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