Shortly after I began what I can only describe as a hopeless addiction for hunting turkeys, I heard from someone who should know about such things, that a turkey's brain is only about the size of a pea. Having already been out-smarted by several gobblers, I just assumed that the wildlife biologist who made the statement must have had too much Wild Turkey bourbon to drink.
But as I progressed as a turkey hunter, eventually hunting them in 17 different states (so far) I learned that the biologist was right. When it comes to brain power a wild turkey just does not have much to work with. If you could somehow measure intelligence in the birds and animals which we hunt, the turkey would rank near the bottom. But when it comes to keen senses of hearing and vision, the wild turkey is up near the top. It has often been said that if a wild turkey had a sense of smell like a whitetail deer, we would only very rarely kill one. I would agree with that.
When it comes to eyesight, the wild turkey was not short-changed. With its dark eyes protruding from each side of that homely head, a turkey can see about 300 degrees without ever swiveling its head. Its vision is also color sensitive. Wild turkeys have made companies named Realtree and Mossy Oak a lot of money. But what really gets us hunters, or at least this hunter, is how quickly a wild turkey keys in on any movement. Try to move your gun when the gobbler is staring you down and my money is on the gobbler every time. It has been my experience that only a mature coyote can match the turkey in this department. That is why being able to sit stone still is a necessary discipline for anyone hoping to be consistently successful on wild turkeys. That eyesight is also why portable blinds have become so popular with turkey hunters. Sit comfortably in a blind and you can eat sandwiches, drink coffee, read a book, switch calls, and even scratch an itch, all without fear of being nailed by a sharp-eyed old gobbler.