Start reading Illumination in the Flatwoods on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
Start reading this book in under 60 seconds
Read anywhere, on any device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season Living Among the Wild Turkey [Kindle Edition]

Joe Hutto
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $7.96 (47%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $8.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $12.09  
Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description


* Now a PBS film: see the NATURE documentary “My Life as a Turkey.” *

* Includes fifty pencil illustrations by the author and 17 color photos. *

In the spirit of the great animal behaviorist, Konrad Lorenz, Joe Hutto embarks on an experiment in imprinting, the phenomenon by which a newborn identifies its parent. Though he doesn’t know it at the time, the experience will change his life.

When Hutto finds himself in possession of two dozen orphaned wild turkey eggs, he incubates them with the intention of raising the hatchlings in the remote Florida flatwoods. As the first poult hatches, hears his voice, stumbles toward him with unwavering eye contact, and then falls asleep nestled against his cheek, Hutto is smitten. “Occasionally in life,” he writes, “as we flow along, we are presented with ideas or opportunities that alter our lives immediately and dramatically—the resumption of an academic career, a sudden change in occupation, the pursuit of some lurking artistic interest, or a consuming love affair. . . . It is an instant priority that superimposes itself over all other things. This is one of these times in my life.”

What the following year brings is something that far exceeds his wildest expectations. The relationship that develops between the author and the wild turkeys so profoundly affects him, that he wonders who has imprinted whom. When the wild turkeys have grown into mature adults, and the last one leaves the safety of Hutto’s farm to mate and fulfill its destiny as a truly wild turkey, he is elated and heartbroken, deeply rewarded and bereft.

Written with skill and humor, rich in the details of the fascinating behavior of the most elusive and mysterious of the wild game birds, ILLUMINATION IN THE FLATWOODS will amaze and delight all who share this season with the wild turkey.

Joe Hutto is a nationally recognized naturalist and wildlife artist. He is currently living with and studying a herd of mule deer in the Wind River Mountains. His last study of a wild sheep herd culminated in the book The Light in High Places. He and his wife, Leslye, own and operate a small, historic working ranch south of Lander, Wyoming.

* * *
“This book is all about turkeys, and yet you will come away from it thinking not about poults and jakes but about the overlap of art and science, the difference between love and sentiment, and what fine creatures humans can be when they are at their best.”

“Touching, amusing, illuminating... If you are a turkey hunter, and therefore a passionate admirer of the wild turkey, read this book. If you revel in the keen observations of a fine naturalist, read this book. If you neither hunt turkeys nor care about the natural world, read this book anyway. It well might elevate you from your miserable lot in life."
—LIONEL ATWILL, contributing editor, Field & Stream

“Hutto beautifully chronicles an audacious, inventive experiment in ethology. It is an extraordinary tale of man-animal interaction related with bemusement, wonder, and ultimately, reverence for the complexity of nature.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Joe Hutto has with empathy and patience entered the wild turkey’s world like no one before. His insight is a revelation and his writing a delight.”

“Spellbinding! An amazing story of natural history and grace in the world. Beautifully written and observed, ILLUMINATION IN THE FLATWOODS is a work of art worthy of its subjects. This book takes us to a place we might never have even dreamed, and gives our minds courage to believe things our hearts have always known.”

“Hutto’s book will join Gavin Maxell’s Ring of Bright Water and Joy Adamson’s Born Free as a classic work of natural history and human-animal interaction.... Hutto’s prose flows with lyrical beauty, carried on the respect and deep love he holds for his charges.”
—Bird Watcher’s Digest

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Editorial Reviews Review

Turkeys, Joe Hutto writes, have gotten a bad rap for being, well, stupid creatures. In his account of a year spent studying a flock of wild turkeys in the loblolly pine woods of Florida, he aims to improve their reputation. They are, he notes, masters of disguise, blending in with their surroundings in ways so subtle as to make the work of predators--especially human hunters--difficult. And, he writes, they are "curious to a fault, want a working understanding of every aspect of their surroundings, and their memory is impeccable." His affectionate portrait may not convince English speakers to stop calling each other turkeys, but it will make welcome reading for birders and wildfowl enthusiasts.

From Publishers Weekly

Wildlife artist Hutto embarked on an unusual study of wild turkeys: he obtained two dozen eggs, incubated them and imprinted himself on the hatchlings, with unexpected results. It was, he says, exhausting, enlightening and one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. His account of raising the brood is an engaging story of an unlikely relationship between species. For six months Hutto spent nearly every waking moment with the young turkeys (four males and 10 females reached maturity), accompanying them on walks in the flatlands of northern Florida, roosting with them at night (until they went to sleep) and observing their behavior. By late summer, he felt so much a part of the flock that smooth green grasshoppers began to look appetizing. In October, Hutto's flock met native wild turkeys, and they dispersed. In an epilogue, he tells how they fared. This tale should have wide appeal to hunters and nature- and animal-lovers. Who would have dreamed turkeys could be so interesting? Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3617 KB
  • Print Length: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Vast Horizon Productions (December 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006O285GE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Hutto: Renaissance Man September 10, 2001
My review is not unbiased because Joe Hutto, author of "Illumination in the Flatwoods," and I have been friends for almost 25 years.
Joe is the most humble man I've ever known. I am honored that he brought me the original manuscript to read. It was so beautiful I could have cried.
With the same graceful writing skills used by conservationists Aldo Leopold ("Sand County Almanac") and Herbert Stoddard ("Memoirs of a Naturalist"), Joe gives a masterful mix of documentary-style nature reporting and heartfelt thoughts on the meaning of life. As dramatic as that sounds, I think most readers will agree that "Illumination in the Flatwoods" is a life-changing book.
You will never regret the dollars you spend to buy this book nor the time it takes you to read it. . .
Kathy McCord Cooley
Was this review helpful to you?
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Hutto's book trancends its subject. Through an account of his relationship with a flock of wild turkeys, Hutto better defines the human qualities of understanding, respect, and decency. I began reading this book because I have always been interested in wild turkeys. I finished it because I felt its sincerity and character were exceptional. The respect that Hutto shows for all creatures, down to the snake that ingests one of his beloved poults, gives us insight to the relevance of all creatures. Hutto seems to have a rare quality that allows him to avoid judgement, and to achieve a level of peace and acceptance that seems so foreign in today's society. Yes, this book is about the wild turkey. But, it if you follow Hutto's responses to the events into which the turkeys lead him, you find a much richer story that tells us more about ourselves than the turkeys Hutto follows.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Hutto, writer extraordinaire November 14, 2003
This is an incredibly beautifully written book. I never thought I would find it so interesting and spellbinding. I was doubtful when first beginning the book that the author would be able to maintain his observer status, but he did so remarkably well, raising the turkeys to be real wild turkeys. As I read the final line in the book, I felt I was closing a chapter in my life in which I had personally been involved with the turkeys and the author. I was impressed with Mr. Hutto's dedication to these remarkable birds, his keen observations, and also with his obvious "connection" to them. I hope he will write again in the future.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't miss this one October 18, 2009
I knew turkeys (domestic)are really cool animals but these wild ones of Joe Hutto's are something else.
Easily the best book I've read in 2009, maybe even a decade and I read a LOT of books. I'm puzzled it hasn't made a bigger splash and become more well known; I think it's a sure classic; right now it's still underground. I think "Desert Solitaire" took a while to get noticed too. Yes, I put this book in that elite category.
Eagerly awaiting Hutto's new book "The Light In High Places"(sorry, forgot how to italicize...)
The down side is I don't know how I can eat turkey again and it was always my favorite
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply inspiring and heartfelt. June 3, 2002
Beautifully written and truly amazing feat accomplished by Mr. Hutto. Many can raise wild turkeys in their own world, however, it took a man with great conviction and love for the bird and it's environment to reverse the process and let the poults raise him. I couldn't put this book down and fell in love with the characters. In closing, I truly admire Mr. Hutto for his dedication and am thankful I don't hunt anywhere near TurkeyBoy's range as I don't believe I could pull the trigger on a bird that has survived the perils he has faced throughout his life.
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Newest edition paperback has no color photograp November 11, 2012
By sarah
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I admit that I grinned and chuckled when a friend - whose taste I trust - offered to lend this book. Was she serious? She was indeed and and she was so right to urge me to give it a chance. It's wonderful. HOWEVER, the newest edition (2006) does not have the color photographs from the two earlier editions and that's a shame. You need to see Turkeyboy, et al. I'll be the only reviewer rating Illumination in the Flatwoods fewer than 5 stars and I hope this captures the attention of potential buyers. Get an older edition.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illumination indeed! Brilliant animal-human insight. December 23, 1997
This is a profound book in subtle ways and should change anybody's views of the relationship between 'wildlife' and human life. It can be read by anyone who has the slightest empathy with pets but perhaps not with animals otherwise, so don't be put off by the subject. It is perhaps people who think they are not interested in turkeys or animals in general who would find the book most inspiring.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating True Story Wild Turkeys June 10, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book made me laugh at times, at times touched me deeply with awe at the complexity of this creature, and its joy in life, as clearly revealed by the author. Makes me wonder how much we just don't know about the wild life around us, and yet how wonderous it all is. The pictures speak volumes, showing their intense curiousity. One of my favorite books in my library now.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Fascinatingl
Joe Hutto has opened the doors of perception for us in this engaging remembrance of his nearly two years of dedication parenting a flock of wild turkeys. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I did not want this book to end!
Published 2 months ago by PomMom
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fascinating story and look into wild turkey behavior and natural history.
Published 2 months ago by Cathy A Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing story.
Published 2 months ago by Barbara Ketchum
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by jumpy
5.0 out of 5 stars An unlikely choice for book club, a huge hit with the readers
I saw the PBS program "My Life as a Turkey" and was inspired to read the book. I enjoyed it so much that I chose it for our book club to read, and everyone was so taken... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sandra L. Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
For anyone who is interested in natural history, this is an easy to read, stimulating, and informative book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Chuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read!
I love this book. Having raised several baby birds who were abandoned, I feel a certain connection with the author. It is very pastoral; slow and relaxing reading. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sibylle
4.0 out of 5 stars good technical read
I found it a little slow at times, but learned a lot about the wild turkey. I would recommend it to any serious turkey hunter.
Published 4 months ago by YoungBuckTX
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating stuff!
After reading the book, I truly admire the author for his devotion to learning more about our natural world. I enjoyed learning about wild turkeys. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Donna S. Meredith
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category