Commissioner To Convene Aroostook County Turkey Group

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Commissioner Roland D. Martin announced today that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will create a stakeholders group that will assist the department in developing a strategic plan for the continued release of wild turkeys into southern Aroostook County.

“The reintroduction of wild turkeys has been a true success story in Maine,” said Commissioner Martin, “we look forward to working with landowners and sportsman in order to share this wildlife success story in southern Aroostook County.”

The stakeholder group’s duties will focus on continued release of wild turkeys into Aroostook County, and the issues associated with any potential wild turkey nuisance problems. The group will include representatives from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Maine Potato Board, Aroostook County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Maine Farm Bureau, the dairy industry, the Department of Agriculture, and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists.

Regional Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe will lead the group. Hoppe is based in Ashland, and has been deeply involved with Maine’s wild turkey restoration and introduction efforts.

The group is charged with developing a plan that outlines how the department will proceed with turkey releases in Aroostook County, how landowners will be notified about wild turkey releases, a protocol for response to turkey issues on area farms, and developing an adaptive strategy that will monitor issues associated with turkeys and employ a local mechanism to deal with issues associated with the release wild turkeys.

This planning group is a direct result of a public meeting held last week in Presque Isle to discuss the continuing introduction of wild turkeys into Aroostook County. At the meeting, it became apparent that landowners and sportsmen were willing to work together on the continued introduction of wild turkeys into Aroostook County.

“It is clear that there is strong support for the continued release of wild turkeys in southern Aroostook County, but is imperative that we work with all stakeholders so that any potential impacts can be averted or lessened,” said Commissioner Martin, who added that he hoped the group would reach consensus quickly, and have a plan developed before the summer.