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The DNR wants to know if you see any wild turkeys in January

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Lester Graham
After being wiped out in Michigan, the wild turkey is one of the state's most successful restoration projects. Now the DNR wants to see where they are and how many there are.

This month, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking you to report any wild turkeys you see during January.

“A century ago, we had no wild turkeys left in the state of Michigan due to colonization, habitat destructions and unregulated hunting back then,” said Erin Ford, conservation manager in Michigan with Audubon-Great Lakes. That group is helping the DNR count turkeys as part of its MI Birds program.

In the 1950s, Michigan began transporting wild turkeys from Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Iowa to re-establish the bird here. Since then, using revenue from hunting licenses and equipment purchases, the Michigan wild turkey conservation program has been able to increase the population to an estimated 200,000.

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Lester Graham

“One of our greatest success stories as far as conservation goes is the return of the wild turkey,” Ford said.

Today, wild turkeys are found in most counties in Michigan, ranging from rural areas to urban and suburban settings.

But DNR officials want to update the population and range of the turkey in the state. In January, you can report where you saw wild turkeys (and how many) to the DNR at this website.

If you go looking for wild turkeys in state forests or other places where there might be hunters, remember to wear a blaze orange vest and/or cap for safety’s sake.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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