Wild Turkey Program Gets a Boost

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Nevada’s wild turkey program recently received a major boost with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) releasing nearly 300 Merriam’s and Rio Grande turkeys that were provided to the state by Idaho and Texas.

Craig Mortimore, NDOW staff biologist, said 108 Merriam’s turkeys that were trapped near Lewiston and Nampa, Idaho were relocated to the Silver Creek and Hidden Canyon ranches in White Pine County. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game provided the birds to Nevada.

Trapping near San Angelo, Texas resulted in the capture of 180 Rio Grande turkeys by NDOW and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. NDOW released 50 birds at Water Canyon west of Pioche and 41 birds in the Delamar Mountains in Lincoln County. The Tomera Ranch near Battle Mountain received 50 turkeys while 36 birds were liberated at Lahontan State Recreation Area south of Fernley. Three birds went to the Belli Ranch near Verdi.

Mortimore said the releases were the result of the cooperative efforts of NDOW, the Nevada chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation and landowners. Releases take place on private lands after cooperative agreements are made with the landowners that allow NDOW to conduct population surveys and possibly trap the birds for relocation, if populations warrant such operations.

Wild turkeys are not native to Nevada, but have become established in a number of locations in the state following releases of birds that were provided by other states.

Hunting seasons for turkeys are held in Nevada each spring and fall. A limited number of permits are issued to hunters who wish to pursue the birds. There are five subspecies of wild turkeys in the U.S. They are Eastern, Florida, Gould’s, Merriam’s and Rio Grande. Only Merriam’s and Rio Grande turkeys have been introduced into Nevada.