Hundreds of Wild Turkey Transferred

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Hundreds of wild turkeys from Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas found new homes in Utah over the past two weeks, while hundreds more were moved within the state.

All of this "turkey moving" is part of the Division of Wildlife Resources' wild turkey management program, which is seeking to increase the number of wild turkeys in Utah. The recent transplants were made possible with help from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Utah-based Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW). Both groups raised thousand of dollars to help get the birds to Utah. Members of each group also volunteered to drive to the three states and transport the birds back to Utah.

"It's hard to put into words how much the help of these groups means to Utah's wild turkey management program," said Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the DWR. "With their volunteer and monetary help, and money raised through the sale of wild turkey conservation hunting permits, Utah now has one of the fastest growing wild turkey populations in the country."

This year's transplants started Jan. 31, when about 75 wild turkeys were moved from their South Dakota home to Utah. Carbon County received 37 birds, and the remainder went to the Uintah Basin.

In Carbon County, 19 turkeys were released in Nine Mile Canyon, and 18 were turned out in the Gordon Creek area near Coal City. Brad Crompton, DWR wildlife biologist, reported that about 30 resident turkeys came out to investigate the newly transplanted birds. "It looked like a welcoming committee," Crompton said.

DWR biologists also worked with NWTF and SFW members to transport more than 500 additional wild turkeys from Texas and Oklahoma. By Feb. 12, a total of 555 Rio Grande wild turkeys from Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas had been released in Utah. Turkey populations have been established in eight new areas, and 24 additional populations have received supplemental birds. By Feb. 12, an additional 341 Rio Grande turkeys had also been trapped and relocated within the state.

"All of these birds will dramatically increase existing populations throughout Utah," Mitchell said. "They'll provide hunters with additional hunting opportunities and a unique wildlife viewing opportunity for everyone who visits the areas where these birds live."