Tennessee Mountains > Sidebars > Eastern Wild TurkeyWild Turkey (Meleagris gallapavo) Turkeys can fly well for short distances but prefer to run.

Eastern Wild Turkey

The Eastern wild turkey, the most numerous of the five turkey subspecies, was shunned by the Indians. Turkey numbers were high, and turkeys were easily hunted before the white settlers came. Some Indian tribes would not eat the bird because they thought any bird that was easily hunted was dim-witted, and they feared that dim-wittedness could be acquired by eating it.

Turkeys were trapped in the Ocoee Ranger District for repopulating other areas of the state. In fact, the Ocoee Ranger District is where the first cannon-propelled net was used in the state for capturing the bird. An open space near well-known turkey haunts would be baited with grain in front of the cannons. When the birds came to eat the grain, the cannons were triggered and a net flew over the birds and trapped them.

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