DWR Wild Turkey Release

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The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) released 13 Rio Grande wild turkeys near Huntington on Friday. About 60 Emery High School (EHS) students participated in the release. Students were affiliated with Future Farmers of America and were enrolled in agriculture and animal science classes at EHS.

"For the past 7 years, Utah has been the Number 1 wild turkey restoration state in the union," remarked Brett Johnson, NWTF Regional Field Supervisor. "In the past decade, the DWR and NWTF have brought nearly 7,000 birds into Utah from other states. Utah has come a long way from having virtually no turkeys to a current population ranging between 20,000 and 30,000 birds."

Jon Leonard, NWTF Utah State Chapter President indicated that the cost of releasing a single wild turkey from out-of-state runs around $188 per bird. This amount includes capture costs, transportation, veterinary expenses, interstate coordination and release efforts. In-state transplants like today's release costs about $25 a bird.

Two hens were outfitted with radio transmitters, which will allow biologists to monitor movements, nesting locations and possible flock migration. Marcy Curtis, President of Castle Country Gobblers, said that more than 200 wild turkeys were recently observed up Ephraim Canyon in Sanpete County. This was especially odd, since no wild birds had ever been released in the county. Some flocks apparently travel great distances from release locations.

"This is so exciting," beamed Marcy. "Its makes me feel like a kid again!" Marcy became addicted to wild turkeys during her high school years. "I love to involve students! When they get excited, they fire up a community, which pushes for more releases and release sites." Marcy urged EHS students to honor and respect private property, which provides some of the best wild turkey habitat to be found.

The Castle Country chapter of the NWTF will host its annual fund-raising banquet on January 29th at 5:30 p.m. in Price at the Greenwell Inn. All proceeds go toward future transplant projects as well as youth and women's outdoor programs. Hunters and all other turkey enthusiasts are cordially invited to attend and participate in the auction.

Browning Arms has manufactured a specially engraved, one-of-a-kind Citori 12-gauge shotgun for NWTF's Utah's statewide raffle. The shotgun and a statewide gobbler permit will be drawn on March 20th. Anyone, wishing to buy raffle tickets, may contact Jon Leonard at 801-782-9557 or Brett Johnson at 435-259-9453.