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spectr17
11-16-2007, 10:23 AM
Wild Turkey Releases Demonstrate Success Story

11/16/07

EDGEFIELD, South Carolina Thirty-three wild turkeys were released near Jamestown, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio at two educational Thanksgiving wild turkey releases.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries organized the Jamestown event, while the Columbus event was hosted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife Resources and the NWTF.

Both releases demonstrated how wildlife managers nationwide have successfully restored wild turkey populations and continue to keep them healthy through active management and research.

In the 1930s, wild turkey numbers were at an all-time low of 30,000 throughout North America. Because of state wildlife agency restoration efforts, the wild turkey population was on the rebound. When the NWTF was founded in 1973, the organization accelerated those efforts through the purchase of trapping equipment and transfer boxes, and through the help of its volunteers.

Large-scale wild turkey restoration began in Ohio in 1956 with the relocation of birds trapped in surrounding states. Today, populations are estimated at nearly 180,000 and wild turkeys are found in each of Ohio's 88 counties. The wild turkeys that were released during the event will be a part of an ongoing wild turkey research project in Ohio.

In Virginia, large-scale wild turkey restoration began in 1961, when the state's wild turkey population was at a very low level. Today, numbers have increased dramatically to an estimated 130,000 to 150,000.

"We hope the releases taught the children more about the wild turkey and the importance of conserving our wildlife resources, and passing along our hunting traditions," said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF senior vice president for conservation programs.

Initial restoration efforts involved the release of pen-raised wild turkeys, but quickly proved fruitless because pen-raised birds did not have the necessary skills to survive in the wild. Thanks to the development of the cannon net, and later the rocket net, wildlife professionals began catching wild birds and moving them into suitable areas to start new populations.

In areas where they are abundant, wild turkeys are usually trapped via nets propelled or dropped over a feeding flock. Trapped birds are individually placed in specialized transport boxes, and then released in areas of suitable habitat with few or no wild turkeys. The NWTF works with wildlife agencies, coordinating the trap and transfer of wild turkeys.

Because of the tireless efforts of state and provincial wildlife management agencies, the NWTF and thousands of volunteers, more than 192,000 wild turkeys have been transferred since the 1970s to restore turkey populations across the country.

"When the NWTF was founded there were only an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys," said NWTF CEO Rob Keck. "Thanks to the work of our nation's sportsmen, there are now more than 7 million wild turkeys throughout North America."

The events demonstrated ongoing efforts made by hunters and state wildlife professionals on behalf of wild turkey restoration and wildlife conservation and gave participants a chance to see wild turkeys fly into their natural habitat. School groups and the general public were invited to attend the wild turkey releases and learn about the comeback of the wild turkey.

School groups and the general public attended and learned about the comeback of the wild turkey. Each event demonstrated efforts made by hunters and state wildlife professionals on behalf of wild turkey restoration and wildlife conservation.

For more information about the wild turkey release or the NWTF, contact Brian Dowler at (803) 637-3106.

About the NWTF: In 1973, when the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Thanks to the work of wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys and nearly 3 million turkey hunters. Since 1985, the NWTF and its cooperators have spent more than $258 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.1 million acres of wildlife habitat.

The NWTF is a nonprofit organization with 584,000 members in 50 states, Canada, Mexico and 14 other foreign countries. It supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and corporate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.

For more information about the NWTF, call (800)-THE-NWTF or visit www.nwtf.org (http://www.nwtf.org/).


Media Contact:
Brian Dowler (803) 637-3106