Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Some turkey tidbits you might not know

April 5, 2007 - 3:24PM

One of the great success stories in the history of wildlife management is the restoration of the wild turkey throughout its native range, including here in North Carolina. When the first European colonists arrived on these shores, turkeys were plentiful and widespread. By the early 1900s, the bird that Benjamin Franklin had championed to be the symbol of our country was nearly extinct. Over-hunting and habitat destruction had nearly done them in.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission began a program in 1953 to reverse the wild turkey¡¦s fortunes in this state. That year birds, acquired from states where they were holding their own, were first released in suitable habitat here. Since then, 6,031 turkeys have been released on 358 restoration sites and, with careful management, have flourished. Today the NCWRC estimates the state¡¦s wild turkey population to be close to 150,000. Wild turkeys now exist in all 100 counties in North Carolina and the population is stable enough that there is a spring gobbler season in all of the counties. This year the season opens on April 14 and extends through May 12. A special Youth Turkey Hunt Day will be April 7. On that date, youngsters under the age of 16 may hunt wild turkeys on private land if accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 21 years of age. (Special provisions of the Youth Turkey Hunt Day are found on page 46 of the NCWRC¡¦s Hunting and Fishing Regulations Digest.)

READ MORE AT: ED Wall, Sun Jounal, New Bern, NC