Idaho Turkey Transplant News


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Boise, ID

Date: March 11, 2002
Contact: Ed Mitchell
(208) 334-3700

Turkeys Transplanted

Turkey trappers had a busy winter across Idaho.

Fish and Game’s continuing efforts to establish wild turkeys in appropriate habitats in Idaho were boosted this winter by good trapping weather. Trapping and transplant operations are carried out in winter months because wild turkeys gather then into large flocks that can be baited with food.

This is a time when some landowners ask Fish and Game to reduce the number of birds on their properties. In most cases, this occurs in areas where deep snows limit food for turkeys. Rather than encourage people to feed wild turkeys, Fish and Game will relocate birds to areas where conflicts are not anticipated.

By the end of this trapping season, 656 wild turkeys were caught and moved. Trappers caught 480 turkeys in the Panhandle and 135 in the Clearwater Region. An additional 41 Rio Grande turkeys were caught in California and shipped to Idaho.

About 375 turkeys were translocated to the Upper Snake and released in Unit 63A along the South Fork of the Snake, lower Henrys Fork, and Main Snake River below the confluence. These turkeys were released at or near the same locations where 91 turkeyswere released the previous winter. The turkeys have remained close to their release areas and are expected to move along the riparian corridors during the spring, summer and fall. It is possible that this population may be hunted during the spring of 2003. An additional 41 turkeys were released in Unit 67 near Swan Valley along the South Fork of the Snake River.

Another 135 turkeys were introduced to three new locations in Unit 71 in the Southeast Region. Turkeys have not been released in this area before, so a sample of hens was marked with radio transmitters in order to monitor them more effectively. Three of 30 radio-marked hens (10 percent) have died during the first six weeks.

Big Cottonwood Wildlife Management Area in the Magic Valley received 41 Rio Grande turkeys trapped in California. This release supplemented an existing population of 40-80 turkeys. Hunters 15 years old or younger will be issued three of the six permits this spring for the area.

Idaho’s turkey population has grown from a few hundred in the early 1980s to 25,000-30,000 through an aggressive program of trapping and transplanting wild birds. In the beginning, Fish and Game received turkeys from other states with the help of the National Wild Turkey Federation and other state wildlife agencies. Most of the turkeys planted now come from within Idaho. Rio Grande type turkeys, a subspecies adapted to arid areas, are still supplemented with shipments from other states as Fish and Game attempts to fill drier habitats in southern Idaho.


Idaho Falls, ID

Date: March 13, 2002
Contact: Gregg Losinski
(208) 525-7290

A Turkey Behind Every Bush!

IDAHO FALLS – While there may not be a turkey behind every bush yet, IDFG has been busy this winter translocating wild turkeys from other parts of the state into the Upper Snake Region. This year a total of 416 new birds were released at sites along the various branches of the Snake River around Idaho Falls.

The growth of Idaho’s turkey population has been truly incredible! Back in the early eighties there were only a few hundred birds in the state. Today, Idaho boasts around 30,000 gobblers. While turkeys are prodigious breeders, IDFG wildlife biologists have helped things along through an aggressive program of trapping and translocating birds.

Last year, 91 turkeys were released in the Archer and Roberts area. Some of this year’s birds were released to supplement last year’s release sites, along with sites first attempted in the early eighties.   According to Regional Wildlife Biologist Dave Koehler, “It seems that the Merriam’s subspecies being released now are better suited to the region than the Rio Grande subspecies that was tried in the eighties.” While no formal studies have been conducted on turkeys released last year, according to Senior Conservation Officer Bruce Penske, “I’ve seen lots of birds and it’s obvious that some reproduction has occurred. The males are already starting to strut around in preparation for breeding this spring.”

Translocation efforts in the Upper Snake Region from the late nineties are already starting to pay off. This spring, ten permit holders will be heading out for the first controlled hunt on turkeys introduced to the Mackay area back in 1997/1998. Biologists are hopeful that the newly established Snake River populations will be at the point where controlled hunts will be available in the very near future.

Latest Posts

Top Bottom