Turkeys Shuffled in Southeast Wyoming

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Martin Hicks, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wheatland wildlife biologist, and a team of co-workers and volunteers recently trapped 97 wild turkeys and moved them to three new locations.

"The turkeys were part of a flock of 200 birds living along Sybille Creek. The birds were causing damage to haystacks and residential areas," says Hicks. "They were moved to areas to the east in hunt area 4 in Goshen County where turkey numbers have decreased significantly. We hope the added birds will help bring populations back to previous numbers."

Because of weather and baiting difficulties, the team spent two days trying to meet the goal of capturing and moving the birds.

The National Wild Turkey Federation provided the net, designed specifically for operations like this one. Participants met early the mornings of Feb. 10 and March 10 to watch the drop net fall, and to prepare the turkeys for their move by loading them into boxes designed to inflict the least amount of stress.

The boxes were then trucked to their new homes that had been carefully pre-selected to provide the food, water, shelter and space needed for survival.

The 21 hens and six toms from the Feb.10 trapping were released in unoccupied habitat in Goshen County along Rawhide Creek, northwest of Lingle.

From the second trapping, 60 hens and 10 toms were released in two locations: the Wyoming Army National Guard’s Camp Guernsey and the Laramie River about 2 miles west of its confluence with the North Platte River.

The department thanks the following landowners and volunteers for their assistance in the trapping project: Linda and Pete Christeleite, Jim Freeburn, Wyoming Army National Guard’s Camp Guernsey, Chuck Shellhart, Platte County Resource District’s and Natural Resources Conservation Service’s staff and family members, Mark Anderson, and Mike Lessard.

Wild turkeys first released into the area in 1935 from Wagon Mound, N.M. were the first birds introduced to Wyoming. Since that time the birds, obtained in exchange for sage grouse, have thrived and now occupy suitable ponderosa pine and river bottom habitats. Most turkey flocks in Wyoming have been either created or supplemented with turkeys from this area since 1950.