Can Turkeys Smell Your Presence When Hunting?


You must comprehend the cunning and character of this cunning bird if you want to be effective at turkey predation. Can turkeys smell? A gobbler could easily outwit you despite having a brain the size of just a walnut.

Quick Response.

Can turkeys smell? While their smell sense isn’t really absent, turkeys have a very poor sense of smell. Several experts think that because of their tiny, immature olfactory bulbs, their perception of smell is comparable to being nonexistent.


A wild turkey, as well as the ocellated turkeys, are the only two species from the family Meleagris that are still alive today. Due to its flavorful and lean flesh, turkey has evolved into a mainstay of holiday meals such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Can Turkeys Smell?

Due to the birds’ limited ability to smell, hunting is frequently advantageous. The olfactory lobes, which are found at the front of the brain, are connected to the sensation of smell. Turkey has inadequate olfactory bulbs, which contributes to its weak sense of scent.

This proverb is inextricably related to Turkey’s olfactory perception. You wouldn’t murder them unless they could sense people, they said. Many people worry that a flawless hunt may be ruined by the turkey’s sense of scent.

As a result, it is quite possible that hapless Turkey won’t perceive risk when pursuing a gobbler during a hunt. Despite having a weak perception of smell, turkeys may outwit a hunter in numerous other areas.

The Olfactory Lobes of Turkey

These olfactory bulbs in the front section of a brain process smell. Many animals have olfactory lobes at the front of the brains, which are responsible for detecting various odors.

Due to the turkey’s short nasal lobes, it is likely that its sense of smell is underdeveloped. Many birds, such as the wild turkey, have underdeveloped smell senses. A little olfactory bulb is present in turkeys.

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As a result, it is generally acknowledged that their perception of smell is quite restricted and only has a little impact on their everyday activities. The smell sensation plays a significant role in many elements of Turkey’s culture and daily life.

Although the sensation of smell might aid the bird in selecting the best foods, it is undeniably the least powerful sense in wild turkeys. Turkeys’ underdeveloped olfactory bulbs suggest that they most likely get a poor perception of a smell.

Can Turkeys Smell Your Presence When Hunting?

Due to the comparatively reduced size of olfactory bulbs, turkeys do not possess a fully developed sense of scent. They won’t be able to detect a hunter following them, but they might be able to outwit him thanks to their exceptional sight and hearing.

Turkey’s Sensations

Turkeys rely more heavily on three out of their sensations than humans do, although using all five daily.


Interaction, finding food, and seeing possible dangers to life all depend on vision. Native turkeys can swiftly recognize movement and process new information. When hearing is hampered by storms and rain, its excellent daytime eyesight is frequently depended upon.

They have exceptional eyesight in the daytime, which allows them to take in information and detect even the slightest movements quickly. In windy or wet conditions, when ambient noise might make it difficult for them to hear, animals concentrate on their eyesight to keep track of what is going on.

Due to their flattened retinas, wild turkeys can somewhat distinguish between colors. Animals have periscopic, unilateral vision since their pupils are situated on the sides of their heads. Feral turkeys compensate for their limited field of vision by rotating their necks to assess distance.

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Additionally, the bird possesses a greater field of vision than people do. Its head can rotate such that its range of view is 360 degrees.


Birds and turkeys have a very advanced hearing abilities as well. Their ability to detect strange noises, assess them as a danger, and flee to a safer region are all part of their defensive system against a predatory.

Hearing enhances eyesight by drawing focus to the origin of the noise. When a bird’s sight is focused on locating food, it can use its hearing to identify a threat. Native turkeys have a remarkable capacity to pinpoint the origin of the sound. They glance at the source of the signal whenever they hear it, which enables them to respond rapidly to attackers and other ecological factors.

The ability to hear well is advantageous to all predatory species. A middle ear, or flap that focuses acoustic signals, is missing from the standard turkey’s outer ear, despite the bird having keen hearing. According to field research, turkeys are more sensitive to distant as well as lower-frequency noises than humans.

According to research, wild turkeys could really hear lower-frequency noises from a greater distance than people can.


Touch is largely used for feeding. Acorns or beech nuts that have been rolled beneath the bird’s feet could be felt when it digs inside the leaves, prompting it to pause and take a closer look. A turkey’s perception of touch is essential for his eating, even if it has nothing to do with the hunting element of things. A gobbler’s sensation of touch assists him in moving about and scratching as he forages for food.

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This bird’s whole body can be touched, not just its wings. A turkey’s beak as well as tongue have a significant part in the sensation of touch, influencing the quality and quantity of various meals, especially when it comes to identifying foods that don’t taste great to him or are unsafe for him to ingest.


Probably sharing our likes are birds and turkeys. As a result, kids also experience the four primary flavors of sweetness, acidic, salty, and bitter. Despite having fewer taste buds than humans, turkeys nevertheless have a subpar sense of flavor.

Even though the taste is connected to smell, it is rarely used. Due to the fact that turkeys may toss off particularly bitter foods while they are eating, the flavor does, yet, play a minor role in the way the bird eats.

Although it is recognized that such birds do not utilize their sense of taste very often, it has been discovered that they would reject something which tastes exceedingly harsh.

In order to be successful in any activity, including turkey hunts, it is usually vital to have some previous knowledge about it. You may better prepare for a hunt by being aware of the senses that turkeys use and by learning further about their sensory systems.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>