More Hunters, More Turkeys

Michigan recently witnessed the droning convergence of hundreds of wild turkey biologists for the ninth National Wild Turkey Symposium. While the event is as brain-sapping as an alien mind meld if you’re not scientifically inclined, don’t doubt for a second that every hunter out there isn’t indebted to the hard work these men and women do.

They study habitat carrying capacities, population dynamics, reproductive indices and other topics that kept most of us in college business or criminology courses. Because of their efforts, all Joe Hunter has to do when the season rolls around is to stand on his property on a beautiful spring morning and listen to the sound of turkeys around him.

One report presented by the National Wild Turkey Federation, which coordinates the event, revealed that both turkey hunting and the number of turkeys are on the rise. This is great news for turkey hunters and turkey hunting in general.

Here are a few interesting facts from a report presented during the symposium thrillingly titled Status and Distribution of the Wild Turkey in 2004:

  • Wild turkey populations increased 22 percent between 1999 and 2004.
  • Hunter numbers have increased by 6 percent in that same time frame.
  • There are now an estimated 7 million wild turkeys in North America. (Man, that is just a lot of turkeys.)
  • Spring turkey seasons are held in 49 states and four Canadian provinces. (Why not 50 states? Who’s the lone holdout? Well, it’s Alaska, where the winters are still too brutal for turkeys to survive. Despite this, the state surprisingly boasts one of the NWTF’s most enthusiastic chapters, who-if there’s a silver lining to this whole global warming thing-might just be hunting turkeys up there in the next 20 to 30 years after all!)
  • Fall turkey seasons are held in 42 states and one province.

All of this is good news for turkey hunters, many who can remember when the state where they live probably didn’t even have a turkey season and the sighting of a wild turkey was still uncommon. For more interesting facts on wild turkey numbers, click here.