Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wild Turkey Restoration in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides information about Wild Turkey restoration here (excerpts):
. . . wild turkeys were eliminated from Iowa by the early 1900’s due to habitat loss and partly because of uncontrolled subsistence hunting.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) began experimenting with turkey restoration in 1920 using pen-reared birds. Releases were made over the next 18 years but all releases were uniform failures. By 1960 no known wild turkey populations existed in Iowa.

The first attempts at releasing transplanted wild turkeys were in the early 1960’s. Rio Grande and Merriam’s subspecies were released at several sites during the 1960’s but ultimately their poor adaptation to Iowa’s oak-hickory forest led to population failures for both subspecies.

The first release of Eastern wild turkeys was in 1966 in Lee County. The population response of these turkeys was phenomenal . . .

Since the initial 1965 release, 3,063 Eastern wild turkeys have been released at 220 sites at a stocking rate of approximately 3 adult gobblers and 10 hens per site. Nearly all sites are considered successful, . . .

Some in-state translocations continue, but the majority of trapping effort is to assist other states in their restoration efforts. During the 1994-95 season we shipped 401 turkeys to Texas...and Kentucky. During the 1995-96 season we shipped 404 turkeys to Texas...109 to Louisiana...and Kentucky. During the 1999-2000 trapping season, Iowa shipped 363 turkeys to Washington...and 61 to South Dakota.... In addition, 163...birds were moved in-state.
But as reported here (.pdf, excerpt):
Restoration efforts ended in 2001 with the last release site occurring in Linn County.
Additional information about Wild Turkeys in Iowa can be found here.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 2004 (December). Wild Turkey restoration. (link)

Iowa Department of Natural Resources. No date. Wild Turkeys [harvest and population status through 2004]. 48 pp. (link)

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