Turkey Feeders at Bear Trace

Several years ago when a flock of wild turkeys showed up at the golf course one morning we were all really excited. An occasional single turkey had been seen on the golf course in the past but never a flock this size.

In an effort to try to entice them to stay and take up residency on the golf course we looked at our habitat and resources for them to thrive. The habitat of the golf course is very adequate for their survival with several movement corridors, native grass corridors, and plenty of trees to roost in for the night. The part we were missing was a good food source so we created some supplemental turkey feeders to provide them with shelled and cracked corn until we could install some food plots for them.

The original feeder design was a very simple trough style feeder. The feed was stored in the upright portion of the feeder and fed into the trough by gravity as the feed was removed by the wildlife. The feeders were successful in the beginning but they had a few downfalls that we needed to correct. One downfall was the fact that they feed in the trough could get wet from irrigation or rainfall and had the possibility of spoiling and possibly making the wildlife ill. Another downfall was created by our deer being smarter than we were in our design. The deer were witnessed taking their front leg and knocking the trough off of the feeders which would release all the feed at one time.

Mitch Sivley with a completed feeder tube

So we had to revisit the drawing board of our turkey feeders and we have come up with a different design that is working out great and is still inexpensive and easy to build. The new design uses 4" PVC piping with the trough being replaced by one inch feeding holes.

One inch holes are drilled in the end cap which was glued to one end of the pipe. We have made our feeders between four and five feet tall. Holes are only drilled on one half of the feeder since the other side will be against the tree.

Any rough areas on the holes were filed down smooth as to not injure the wildlife while eating.

The other end of the tube is fitted with a screw on cap fitting which will keep the feed dry and will allow for easy removal to refill the feed.

Once completed the PVC piping is camouflaged with different colors of paint and leaf stencils to allow it to blend into the landscape.

Four finished wild turkey feeders ready for installation. Total time on these feeders was about two hours and they are ready to be added to our wildlife conservation program.

A "new and improved" turkey feeder attached to a tree with plumbers tape. The smaller holes and more upright design insures the feed will not be eaten at a rapid pace and will not be contaminated by rainfall or irrigation practices. All in all the project has been a great success with the wild turkey staying at the golf course and being seen at all times of the day.

If you would like more information on this or any other project we are undertaking please let us know at paul.carter@tn.gov.

Paul L. Carter is the Certified Golf Course Superintendent at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. Paul has a number of very interesting post's that Turfhugger readers would enjoy including:

Native Grass Area Renovation
Renovation of Native Planting Bed
Environmental Outreach and Education
The Next Generation (incredible photos!)
GCSAA/Golf Digest announce 2010 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards
Case Study for GCSAA's Environmental Institute for Golf

Turfhugger has reposted a blog from Paul in the past - Nest Watch at The Bear Trace