I misquoted on the number of weeks a turkey can survive, here it is: "Winter survival should be good this year," says Scott Hull, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "Wild turkeys in Wisconsin have proven themselves to be tough birds. As long as there is access to ample food and snow depth does not hinder their ability to navigate their surroundings for an extended period of time, wild turkeys can handle nearly any Wisconsin winter." In fact, Hull says, wild turkeys can remain in roosting areas for up to two weeks during especially severe weather and can lose up to 40 percent of their body weight before dying of starvation.
If turkeys had their choice, I believe they prefer nesting in open hay fields rather than in the woods, because they'd rather deal with the crows finding them out in the open than the skunk, coon, red fox, gray fox, opossum, coyote and Great Horned Owl finding them in the woods. We know the turkey population is lower in totally wooded areas and higher in a 50-50 mix of woods and fields, so there are more turkeys nesting in the 50-50 areas than in woods. And of those in the 50-50 areas. even if only half are nesting in the hay fields, that's still a lot of hens to lose to the haybine. I've observed many hens nesting in hay fields. It just makes so much more sense that they can more easily out-maneuver a predator in a field than in the woods. I see them often in pairs or threes, they have a tag team going with any predator, while one is setting the other one or two are decoys. Crows will occasionally find the nest and fly away with the eggs, then drop them so they would break and they can eat them. I've seen them do this 4 times with the same egg and it didn't break because although the crow is smart enough to steal the egg, he's not smart enough to drop it where it will break. Most of the time it drops in a soft hayfield. But regardless, the hen would abandon the egg anyway. I'm looking for the DNR data on where they nest, but most of it was studies from 1988-94, about 20 years ago. Since then the number of permits and birds killed increased about 10 times. Here's a nice graphic showing that, compliments of jsonline.com if it works: