Soon families and friends will gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The most common table faire on the table will no doubt be a Thanksgiving turkey. Unlike the adage that one can never have too much of a good thing, that wasn’t exactly the case for our native wild turkeys.
When European settlers arrived in Utah, wild turkeys were literally non-existent. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that efforts by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to restore turkeys back in Utah were successful.
To better manage wild turkey and the potential for increasing from overabundant flocks in urban areas, the Division of Wildlife resources has opened two wild turkey hunting seasons. In April there’s a limited entry hunt and a youth hunting season. After the limit entry hunt, there’s a general over the counter hunt followed by the fall hunt. These hunts have been designed to reduce populations in areas where hunting is permitted.
In urban areas, the best way to prevent wild turkey damage is to eliminate access or remove the attractants. Some of these attractants include bird feeders, livestock feed, pet food and other food sources. Covering mulched areas or fencing small flower gardens, vegetable gardens or vineyards may also help reduce damage. The cost of excluding wild turkeys may be worthwhile to prevent damage to specialty crops or smaller flower and vegetable gardens.
For those of you who will enjoy turkey as Thanksgiving table fair but don’t have to worry about flocks of wild turkeys roosting in your trees or neighborhood, there might be another thing to add to your list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving…the Utah wild turkey hunter. More information at wildawareutah.org.