The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Turkey trap

how to catch a turkey with a 50 gallon drum

We've got a wild flock of turkeys in the woods behind us, and sometimes we can hear them gobble.

Turkey season started in our area this week, and just for the fun of it I researched "How to catch a turkey" for a few minutes.

First off, I'm pretty sure there might be some laws against catching a turkey, which is what stopped me from actually trying it, but if you find yourself in a survival situation the most easy and simple method involves a 50 gallon drum.

Bait the drum with some crushed corn sitting on top with the bottom up. Check on it a couple times a day, and replenish the corn when needed. Do this everyday for 3 or 4 days, and on the 5th day flip the drum around. The turkey won't be able to see the new opening and will flop right in. Not having enough space to spread its wings will keep it there till you next check on the trap.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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That is the most awesome turkey trap I have ever heard of! And on the plus side, "It isn't a trap, it's a barrel, officer. The turkey just fell in."

Comment by Eric in Japan Sun Apr 22 19:14:13 2012
That's a fantastic idea! Whoever first thought of that must have had a lot of time on their hands, though. It reminds me of the joke about the whistle, the bird seed, and the football field. Maybe I'll tell it to you tomorrow when I'm less tired (if you haven't heard it already, that is!)
Comment by Angela Mon Apr 23 00:10:38 2012
would anyone in a survival situation be lugging around a 50 gallon drum?
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Apr 23 01:53:32 2012

Eric --- Thanks for making me laugh! :-)

Angela --- You'll have to tell me the joke. I'm pretty sure I haven't heard it....

Roland --- Perhaps if a hurricane or other disaster cut off power and ability to get storebought food for a couple of weeks? Lots of folks have these barrels lying around, especially in a farm situation.

Comment by anna Mon Apr 23 12:23:54 2012
It all sounds good but how do you keep all the deer from eating the corn? I have a yard full of turkeys and deer.
Comment by Tom k Sun Dec 2 19:51:27 2012
thats a really good way to catch a turkey , but i have a better one for you why not put the barrel with the opening up and put the crack corn on top of some news paper that is taped snuggly around the top of barrel and when the turkey goes to eat the corn he will fall through the sheat of news paper and be caught the very first time he goes to eat the corn i tryed it not so long ago and it works every time of course i let the turkey go after i caught it but it was fun watching them fall through the news paper into the barrel to eat the corn. yours truely Richard
Comment by Richard Sat May 25 20:43:02 2013
Fantastic idea. That is really GREAT!!! Thanks
Comment by alberto Wed Oct 8 20:34:51 2014
Thats a really great idea but if you are trapping them because you have over 50 of them and they are really making a mess in my yard what do you do with them after you trap them! please let me know if you have an idea on what to do with them because I am at my witts end!!
Comment by Sara Fri Apr 15 20:53:14 2016
An old timer in Missouri told me about this. He called it an Ozark Turkey Trap. They get away sometimes but a lot of times they plop right in
Comment by Joe Tue Apr 18 16:45:49 2017

So the original version of this trap wasn't with a 50 gallon drum.

In the original version, you dig a narrow trench just wide enough that the turkey will be able to walk down, but narrow enough that it won't be able to spread its wings. You want to make the deep end of the trench deep enough that the turkey can't jump out.

Bait the deep end of the trench with corn. As the turkey walks down into the trench to eat the corn, it will get stuck and not be able to fly away, and they're not smart enough to figure out that they can simply walk backwards out of the trench.

Comment by Phil K Wed Nov 14 11:58:26 2018
Has anyone ever tried this and does it really work? I want to catch some turkeys near our home to re-locate them and was googling for ideas....
Comment by Debbie Wed Feb 27 15:14:10 2019

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