Turkey gorged on cicadas before meeting Tennessee hunter, graphic photo shows

Mid-South

A periodical cicada is seen in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 17, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee turkey had been eating well thanks to emerging cicadas before a hunter harvested the bird on the last day of the state’s spring turkey hunting season.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency shared news of the gobbler and its belly full of cicadas in a social media post shared earlier this week. It turns out, cicadas are bountiful snacks not only for copperhead snakes, but also for foraging turkeys.

The periodical cicadas of Brood X are currently emerging from underground across the eastern United States — by the billions, if not trillions — to molt, mature, mate and lay eggs before dying off. This particular brood emerges every 17 years; the next emergence of Brood X cicadas is expected in 2038.

Other broods of cicada emerge regularly across the country at 13- or 17-year intervals, in addition to annual cicada species. Brood X, however, is the largest of the 17-year broods.

Tennessee’s next turkey season doesn’t begin until the fall, between Sept. 25-Oct. 29 and Nov. 1-5 (archery) and Oct. 16-29 (shotgun). By then, the cicadas — both annual and periodical — will have retreated or died off for the year.

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