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Finding fall and winter food sources can lead to successful turkey hunting 

If you are fortunate enough to reside in or plan on visiting a state with a late fall turkey season, finding a good food source will be key to harvesting that late-season bird. 

In the fall and winter months, the diet of wild turkeys consists primarily of hard and soft mast. Acorns from oak trees are the most common hard mast, but acorn production is often unreliable. During years when acorns are scarce, turkeys will sometimes be found using soft mast and agricultural fields.
Season Dates Remaining
Nov. 23-Jan. 1 (varies)
Oct. 1-Feb. 28 (archery)
Nov. 9-Jan. 5 (varies)
Oct. 1-Jan. 12 (archery)
Dec. 23-Jan. 10 (archery)
Dec. 16-31
Sept. 1-Dec. 15
New Hampshire
Sept. 15-Dec. 15 (varies)
North Dakota
Oct. 5- Jan. 5
Dec. 2-Jan. 15 (archery)
South Dakota
Oct. 1-DEC 31 (varies)
Nov. 2-Feb. 23 (varies)
Dec. 9-Jan. 4, 2003 (varies)
Sept. 1-DEC 31 (varies by area)

Soft mast, fruit such as wild grapes, persimmons, crabapples and berries, are particularly important in areas without grain fields and when hard mast production is low. In areas where soybean, sunflower, millet and corn fields are abundant, wild turkeys often take advantage of grain left after the harvest. 

Green fields, especially those planted with rye, wheat and clover that stay green in winter, are also very attractive to turkeys. Even where there may be snow cover, wild turkeys will feed year round on insects available in leaf litter. Also, a plot planted with Turkey Gold Chufa is attractive to wild turkeys in winter, as well as fall and spring.

Areas where food is abundant almost surely will attract wild turkeys. Try scouting for these places to improve your odds of spotting a flock. Make sure to check with your state’s department of natural resources for season dates, bag limits, license requirements and other information before heading to the woods. 

For more information about the NWTF or the 2003 Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Championships to be held in Nashville, Tenn., February 13-16, call 1-800-THE-NWTF; and check out our website at www.nwtf.org or e-mail questions to nwtf@nwtf.net.

About the NWTF: In 1973 when the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Thanks to the work of state wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, today there are an estimated 5.4 million wild turkeys and approximately 2.6 million turkey hunters. Since 1985, more than
$135 million NWTF and cooperator dollars have been spent on over 15,000 projects benefiting wild turkeys throughout North America.

The NWTF is a 390,000-member grassroots, nonprofit organization with members in 50 states, Canada and 11 foreign countries. It supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and corporate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.

** For lots of excellent Wild Turkey Recipes check Cooking Turkey With SusieQ

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