Last night, friend Jerry Paitsel, who operates Struttinbird Turkey Calls, called. The main topic of conversation was the status of the turkey hatch.
For those who enjoy hunting, photographing, or viewing these majestic creatures, the main reason why we will have turkeys to do so is the success or failure of the hatch. Across Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the general Mid-Atlantic, the poults hatch for the most part in late May and early June.
Of course, not all turkeys are born now. Every year there are reports of birds hatching in early to mid May and even late April. And sometimes turkey hens lose their first clutch of eggs and renest in July. But, again, for the most part, now is the time when the young poults hatch.
And the main reason whether the hatch is successful now is the weather. The reason Jerry brought up the topic was that a cold rain fell Friday and the air temperature dipped into the 40s in the Alleghany Mountains of the two Virginias. Newly born turkeys are very susceptible to hypothermia, and many of them may not have survived Friday night.
It will be very interesting to observe how many poults are accompanying hens in the next few weeks. Hopefully, more birds will have hatched out after this past Friday than before.