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A Swimming Turkey?

by Brian Lovett, editor

Here’s something turkey hunters don’t see every day.

Turkey & Turkey Hunting reader Justin Teague, of Knoxville, Tenn., recently shared this incredible experience with us.

“While fishing with a friend back in the spring on a local lake near Knoxville, Tenn., we saw something that was a little odd. We observed a turkey flying across the lake. We saw it fly from one island heading to another island across the main channel of the lake.

“However, it didn’t make it across. About halfway across, it nose-dived into the water and began swimming around. From a distance, it looked like a goose in the water. We continued fishing for about 10 minutes and then decided to go see the bird on the way to another fishing spot. As we got closer, we realized the bird was a mature gobbler that appeared to be in good health, and it was swimming just fine. It was headed down the lake instead of toward the bank.

“We decided to idle the boat toward him and steer him toward the island. He finally made it there, and when he reached the bank, it was obvious he was water-logged and exhausted. He could hardly make it up the bank.

“After he stumbled up, he quickly laid down in a downed pine tree. We guessed he was probably in the water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

“I called my dad and all my friends and asked if they had ever seen or heard of anything like this, and no one had. I had no idea that turkeys could even swim. I though you might be interested in this story and could answer the question if this a strange occurrence or if it happens often around lakes and rivers?”

Justin, we asked well-known turkey biologist Lovett E. Williams Jr. about
swimming turkeys. Here’s his response:

“I have seen turkeys swimming when they were half-drugged and waded into a swamp or creek, but I have never seen a sober turkey swimming.”

Williams agreed that turkeys typically avoid traveling through water that’s
too deep for them to wade.

Think that’s incredible? Wait until you check out the T&TH Insider’s Club.

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