Northern Wild Turkey Workshop by tdl18804

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									Northern Wild Turkey

                      Compiled by:
                   Richard O. Kimmel
                   Wendy J. Krueger
                   Tonya K. Klinkner

       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
          Farmland Wildlife Research Group
                   Route 1 Box 181
              Madelia, Minnesota 56062

                   January 16-18, 2003
                 Bloomington, Minnesota

                      Sponsored by:
       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
            National Wild Turkey Federation
 Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation

Thanks to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the National Wild Turkey Federation
(NWTF) and the Minnesota Chapter of NWTF for logistical and financial support for the
Northern Wild Turkey Workshop.

Coordination for this conference was handled by a Steering Committee and an outside Advisory
Group. Serving on the Steering Committee was John Giudice, Kurt Haroldson, Dick Kimmel,
Tonya Klinkner, Wendy Krueger, and Gary Nelson. The Advisory Group included Tom Glines,
Dave Neu, David Pauly, Dean Potter, Al Stewart, Brian Tefft, and Keith Warnke.

John Giudice handled the audio/visual chores. Tonya Klinkner was in charge of registration,
nearly all correspondence, formatting the proceedings, and many other day-to-day tasks
associated with this conference. Wendy Krueger coordinated the Thursday session.

This volume is a second edition of the proceedings distributed at the conference. Dick Kimmel,
Tonya Klinkner, Wendy Krueger, and Katie Meiners assisted with editing the proceedings. Ross
Hier, Minnesota DNR's resident artist, provided the cover art.

                                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS
     Northern Wild Turkeys-The Final Frontier
                 Richard Kimmel.................................................................................................................................. 4
     Survey of Northern Turkey Biologists Regarding Current Wild Turkey Range
     and Plans for Continued Expansion
                 Wendy Krueger ................................................................................................................................... 6
Transplanting Wild Turkeys North of Their Ancestral Range
    Desires of Sportsmen and Women for Expanding Wild Turkey Populations North
                 Tom Glines .......................................................................................................................................... 7
     Northern Expansion of Minnesota's Wild Turkey Population
                 Gary Nelson ........................................................................................................................................ 7
     Toward a Model of the Northern Range Limit of Wild Turkeys in Ontario
                 Jeff Bowman, Karen Bellamy, Lisa Bridges, Mike Malhiot, Linh Nguyen, J. Bruce Pollard,
                 and Bruce Pond ................................................................................................................................... 8
     Wild Turkeys or Ruffed Grouse?
             Ron Eckstein ....................................................................................................................................... 8
     Note: Ron Eckstein was unable to attend the conference and was replaced on the schedule by Rick Horton.
     Rick Horton's abstract is included in the Appendix.
     Wild Turkeys Beyond Their Historic Range Limits: Exotic Pests?
                 William Healy ..................................................................................................................................... 9
     Influence of Winter Supplemental Feeding on Wild Turkeys in New Hampshire
                 Jason Hamel, Peter Pekins, and Mark Ellingwood ............................................................................. 10
     Weather, Food, and Roost Cover: Key Factors Limiting the Distribution of Northern
     Wild Turkeys
                 Kurt Haroldson.................................................................................................................................... 11
     Winter and the Wild Turkey: Northern Weather Conditions and Wild Turkey Populations
                 Steve Chadwich and C. Alan Stewart ................................................................................................. 12
     Food Plots to Landscapes: Understanding the Relationships Between Habitat, Weather,
     and Population Dynamics for Wild Turkeys in Northern Latitudes
                 William Porter..................................................................................................................................... 12
Research on Wild Turkeys in Northern Latitudes
     Survival of Turkey Hens in East-Central Illinois
                 Patrick Hubert, Timothy Van Deelen, Richard Warner, and Patrick Brown ...................................... 13
     Survival and Reproduction of Wild Turkey Hens in Central Ontario
                 Linh Nguyen, Josef Hamr, and Glenn Parker ..................................................................................... 13
     Winter Roost Site Selection by Eastern Wild Turkeys in Central Ontario
                 Linh Nguyen, Josef Hamr, and Glenn Parker ..................................................................................... 14
     Winter Survival of Wild Turkeys Translocated North of Their Ancestral Range in
                 Dale Kane, Richard Kimmel, William Faber, and Gary Nelson ......................................................... 14
     Adaptive Harvest Management for Wild Turkeys: Considerations for Northern Managers
                 Keith Warnke ...................................................................................................................................... 15
     Seasonal Home Range, Nesting Ecology, and Survival of Eastern Wild Turkeys in
     Northern New Hampshire
                 Andrew Timmins, Peter Pekins, and Mark Ellingwood...................................................................... 16
     Winter Survival and Farmstead Dependence of Merriam's Wild Turkeys in the
     Southern Black Hills, South Dakota
                 Chad Lehman, Lester Flake, Dan Thompson, and Mark Rumble....................................................... 17
     Introduced Eastern Wild Turkeys in Northeastern South Dakota
                 Dan Thompson, Roger Shields, Chad Lehman, and Lester Flake....................................................... 18

  Northern Wild Turkey Populations, Problems, and Hunting Seasons
       Regional Variation in Wild Turkey Abundance and Population Dynamics Relative to
       Habitat Characteristics in Wisconsin
                     George Klemolin, Scott Lutz, Karl Martin, Jim Woodford, Kurt Thiede,
                     and Keith Warnke ............................................................................................................................... 19
          Wild Turkey Range and Habitat Distribution in Minnesota, an Ecological Perspective
                     Gary Drotts.......................................................................................................................................... 19
          Hunter Interference and Ease of Access for Spring Wild Turkey Hunting in Minnesota
                     Kari Dingman, Richard Kimmel, John Krenz, and Brock McMillan.................................................. 20
          Selecting Equipment for Radio Tracking with Emphasis on Cold Weather
                     Christopher Kochanny, Valerian Kuechle, and Richard Huempfner .................................................. 21
          The Northern Michigan Winter Habitat Enhancement Project
                     Robert Maddrey and David Neu ......................................................................................................... 21
          Urban Wild Turkeys: Are They the New Problem Child?
                     John Moriarty and Bryan Lueth .......................................................................................................... 22
  State and Provincial Agency Reports
        Report from New Hampshire Representing the Northeastern United States
                     Andrew Timmins ................................................................................................................................ 23
          Report from Ontario Representing the Eastern Canadian Provinces
                     J. Bruce Pollard................................................................................................................................... 25
          Report from Michigan Representing an Eastern Lake State
                     C. Alan Stewart ................................................................................................................................... 26
          Report from Wisconsin Representing a Western Lake State
                     Keith Warnke ...................................................................................................................................... 30
          Report from North Dakota Representing the Great Plains
                     Lowell Tripp ....................................................................................................................................... 31
          Report from Idaho
                     Don Kemner........................................................................................................................................ 33
          Report from Manitoba
                     Murray Gillespie ................................................................................................................................. 34
     Turkeys vs. Ruffed Grouse: Beyond The Rhetoric
                      Rick Horton ....................................................................................................................................... 36
          Final Comments Regarding Research Session
                     James Earl Kennamer.......................................................................................................................... 38
          Northern Wild Turkey Workshop:Final comments and open discussion
                     Bill Healy ............................................................................................................................................ 39
List of Attendees...............................................................................................................................40

                       Northern Wild Turkey Workshop
Thursday, January 16, 2003
     Afternoon Session (1:00 - 5:30 p.m.)
           State and Provincial Agency Reports regarding Northern Wild Turkey
           Management Programs
                   Moderator/Coordinator - Wendy Krueger
            1:00 p.m.-Kimmel, R.O. Introduction and announcements

            1:15 p.m.-Krueger, W. Survey of Northern Turkey Biologists Regarding Current Wild
            Turkey Range and Plans for Continued Expansion

            1:45 p.m. – Timmins, A. Report from New Hampshire Representing the Northeastern
            United States

            2:15 p.m. – Pollard, B. Report from Ontario Representing the Eastern Canadian

            2:45 p.m. – Stewart, A. Report from Michigan Representing an Eastern Lake State

            3:15 p.m. - Break

            3:45 p.m. - Warnke, K. Report from Wisconsin Representing a Western Lake State

            4:15 p.m. – Tripp, L. Report from North Dakota Representing the Great Plains

            4:45 p.m. – Kemner, D. Report from Idaho Representing the Western United States

            5:15 p.m. – Further discussion

     Evening Social (starts 7:00 p.m.)
        Entertainment by Adam Granger - singer, songwriter, and humorist from St. Paul, MN, and
        founder of Prairie Home Companion's Powdermilk Biscuit Band.

Friday, January 17, 2003
     Morning Session (8:00 - Noon)
          Transplanting Wild Turkeys North of Their Ancestral Range
                  Moderator - Dick Kimmel
            8:00 a.m.-Kimmel, R.O. Session Introduction: Northern Wild Turkeys-the Final Frontier

            8:10 a.m.-Glines, T. Desires of Sportsmen and Women for Expanding Wild Turkey
            Populations North

            8:30 a.m.-Nelson, G. Northern Expansion of Minnesota's Wild Turkey Population

            8:50 a.m.-Bowman, J., K. Bellamy, L.A. Bridges, M.W. Malhiot. L. Nguyen, J.B.
            Pollard, and B.A. Pond. Toward a Model of the Northern Range Limit of Wild Turkeys
            in Ontario

            9:10 a.m.-Eckstein, R. Wild Turkeys or Ruffed Grouse?
            This talk was replaced with: Horton, R. Turkeys vs. Ruffed Grouse: Beyond the Rhetoric

       9:30 a.m.-Healy, W. Wild Turkeys Beyond Their Historic Range Limits: Exotic Pests?

       9:50 a.m. Break

       10:10 a.m.-Hamel, J.P., P.J. Pekins, and M. Ellingwood. Influence of Winter
       Supplemental Feeding on Wild Turkeys in New Hampshire

       10:30 a.m.-Haroldson, K. Weather, Food, and Roost Cover: Key Factors Limiting the
       Northern Distribution of Wild Turkeys

       10:50 a.m.-Chadwick, S.B. and A. Stewart. Winter and the Wild Turkey: Northern
       Weather Conditions and Wild Turkey Populations

       11:10 a.m.-Porter, W. From Food Plots to Landscapes: Understanding the Relationships
       between Habitat, Weather, and Population Dynamics for Wild Turkeys in Northern

       11:30a.m.-Discussion/Questions with the above authors

       Lunch 12:30 - 1:50 p.m.

Afternoon session (1:50 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
      Research on wild turkeys in northern latitudes
             Moderator - James Earl Kennamer
       1:50 p.m.-Hubert, P.D., T. R. Van Deelen, and R.E. Warner. Survival of Turkey Hens in
       East-Central Illinois

       2:10 p.m.-Nguyen, L.P., J. Hamr, and G.H. Parker. Survival and Reproduction of Wild
       Turkey Hens in Central Ontario

       2:30 p.m -Nguyen, L.P., J. Hamr, and G. H. Parker. Winter Roost Site Selection by
       Eastern Wild Turkeys in Central Ontario

       2:50 p.m.-Kane, D.F., R.O. Kimmel, W.E. Faber, and G.C. Nelson. Winter Survival of
       Wild Turkeys Translocated North of their Ancestral Range in Minnesota

       3:10 p.m. Break

       3:40 p.m.-Warnke, K. Adaptive Harvest Management for Wild Turkeys: Considerations
       for Northern Managers

       4:00 p.m.-Timmins, A.A., P.J. Pekins, M. Ellingwood. Seasonal Home Range, Nesting
       Ecology, and Survival of Eastern Wild Turkeys in Northern New Hampshire

       4:20 p.m.-Lehman, C.P., L.D. Flake. D.J. Thompson, and M.A. Rumble. Winter Survival
       and Farmstead Eependence of Merriam's Wild Turkeys in the Southern Black Hills,
       South Dakota

       4:40 p.m.-Thompson, D.J, R.D. Shields, C.P. Lehman, and L.D. Flake. Introduced
       Eastern Wild Turkeys in Northeastern South Dakota

       5:00 p.m.-Kennamer, J.E. Session wrap-up

Evening - Social in conjunction with Minnesota NWTF Chapter

Saturday, January 18, 2003
     Morning - Field trip (7-11 a.m.)

             Stop 1 - Battle Creek Park (Habitat Restoration, Urban Forest Habitat Use by Wild
             Turkeys) John Moriarty, Natural Resources Manager, Ramsey County Parks

             Stop 2 - Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area (Site of first Minnesota wild turkey
             release north of the ancestral range, northern wild turkey habitat, timber wolf research)
             Lloyd Knudson and Dave Pauley, Minnesota DNR

     Afternoon Session (1:00 p.m.)
            Northern Wild Turkeys Populations, Problems, and Hunting Seasons
                   Moderator - Bill Healy

             1:00 p.m.-Klemolin, G.V., R.S. Lutz, K. Martin, J. Woodford, K. Thiede, and K. Warnke.
             Regional Variation in Wild Turkey Abundance and Population Dynamics Relative to
             Habitat Characteristics in Wisconsin

             1:20 p.m.-Drotts, G. Wild Turkey Range and Habitat Distribution in Minnesota, an
             Ecological Perspective

             1:40 p.m.-Dingman, K.L., R.O. Kimmel, J.D. Krenz, and B.R. McMillan. Hunter
             Interference and Ease of Access for Spring Wild Turkey Hunting in Minnesota

             2:00 p.m.-Kochanny, C.O., V.B. Kuechle, and R.A. Huempfner. Selecting Equipment
             for Radio Tracking with Emphasis on Cold Weather Operation

             2:20 p.m.-Maddrey, R.C. and D. Neu. Northern Michigan Winter Habitat Enhancement

             2:40 p.m.-Moriarty, J., and B. Lueth. Urban Wild Turkeys: Are They the New Problem

             3:00 p.m. - Break

             3:30 p.m.-Healy, W.M. Final comments and open discussion

     Evening - Minnesota NWTF Chapter State Banquet

Richard O. Kimmel, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural
    Resources, Rt. 1, Box 181, Madelia, MN 56062

         Welcome to the Northern Wild Turkey Workshop. The purpose of this 3-day conference is to
bring together northern wild turkey biologists and managers, NWTF staff, and other interested people to
share information on existing northern wild turkey populations and the potential northern expansion of
wild turkeys. There are many questions concerning wildlife management challenges, ecological
concerns, and opportunities for increased hunting and economic gains associated with northern wild
turkey populations. An understanding of these considerations is important as we look to the future of the
northern wild turkey, which may be "the final frontier" as we near completion of introducing this species
to all potential and appropriate landscapes.
         There was little discussion of northern wild turkeys 20 years ago. Most dialogue, at least in
Minnesota, focused on whether wild turkeys in the existing northern range would even maintain huntable
populations through a series of severe winters. By the early 1980's Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources (MDNR) had transplanted wild turkeys just north of the Twin Cities, which, to some people,
was considered a bold experiment. Minnesota's first hunting season took place in 1978 and consisted of 2
hunting zones, both well south of the Twin Cities. Naming the 2 Minnesota wild turkey hunting zones
"North" and "South" indicated how far north MDNR felt turkey populations could be maintained in
huntable numbers.
         Each time wild turkey biologists expressed concern about moving turkeys into a different
landscape, wild turkeys have proved to be more resilient than expected. At first, turkey biologists were
concerned whether wild turkey populations could be started and maintained even in prime habitat using
transplanted stock. Most of the 1900's was marked with failure in transplanting turkeys because of use of
pen-reared stock. The development of explosive propelled nets to capture wild birds during the middle of
the last century resulted in the first real successes in establishing turkey populations. By the 1980's the
range and numbers of wild turkeys had radically increased.
         As related by John Lewis in a keynote address at the Eighth National Wild Turkey Symposium
(2000), the big question for turkey biologists in the 1970's had been whether turkeys could exist in mixed
forest-agricultural landscapes. Today turkeys are found throughout farmed-prairie areas of the north-
central United States, although there are still management questions about the ecology of wild turkeys in
landscapes with few trees.
         In 1985, Gerry Wunz presented a paper at the Fifth National Wild Turkey Symposium that
discussed establishing turkeys in urban areas. Today we have wild turkeys walking across suburban
manicured lawns in many areas of the country. At this meeting, John Moriarty will address potential
urban turkey problems we should be anticipating. For example, as snow depth increases, turkeys become
bolder in their search for food and bird feeders in suburban backyards become a means of survival,
regardless of their proximity to humans.
         Discussion on how far turkey populations could be expanded to the north have become more
common. Is this the final frontier for those interested in expanding the range? How far north is too far
and what will limit turkey expansion to the north? By the 1990's a series of research projects focused on
winter survival and management needs of northern wild turkeys. Presentations at this meeting will cover
many of those investigations and more recent projects. Ontario made a bold move transplanting radio-
marked turkeys well north of their ancestral range. Wisconsin began looking at wild turkey survival on
the southern edge of Lake Superior. In Minnesota we began a series of projects looking at lower critical
temperature, the value of conifers as roosting cover to help mitigate low wind chills, and the importance
of food plots. In 1990 Kurt Haroldson and I presented a paper at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife
Conference summarizing some of our thoughts on this topic. At that conference I spoke with Gordon
Gullion, dean of ruffed grouse research, about our new research direction. Gullion, who was visibly in
his final battle with cancer, quickly responded, "cold won't be the problem, it will be if turkeys can find
enough food through the deep snow." This continues to be an important question.
         At the Eighth National Wild Turkey Symposium in 2000, more than a dozen northern wild turkey
biologists met informally to discuss common management problems and questions. We discussed the
need for a Northern Wild Turkey Workshop. Regional turkey meetings (grouped by states/provinces in
the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and West) have usually focused on areas with higher turkey densities

rather than the northern edge of the range. At our informal meeting, the group discussed the need for a
survey of wild turkey management activities and populations in northern states and southern provinces.
This survey, now having been completed by Wendy Krueger, is the introductory paper at this meeting.
         Krueger's survey shows that we have already moved wild turkeys north of their ancestral range
across North America. Viewpoints on whether to continue the release of turkeys further north of the
ancestral range involve 4 general considerations: economics, increased hunting opportunities, the
ecosystem, and wildlife management. These are interrelated and it is impossible to enter into a discussion
on any one of these topics without considering the others.
         Economics: Expanding the range of wild turkeys provides increased economic opportunity.
Money raised by conservation fundraisers is increased when conservation groups can expand into new
areas. Expanding wild turkey populations northward would increase potential public interest in National
Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) fundraisers. Money raised by NWTF has provided critical support for
wild turkey research during the past 20 years. Most, if not all presentations at this meeting were funded,
or at least directly impacted, by dollars raised at NWTF fundraisers. Also, increased revenues are created
by expanded hunting opportunities. However, economic impacts from expanding wild turkeys northward
may not always be viewed as beneficial.
         Wildlife Management: Introducing wild turkeys into a new area is an exciting challenge for
wildlife management. However, some wildlife managers express concerns about new management
demands resulting from northern turkey releases. These demands become problems for area wildlife
management offices that are already short of money and staff. Adding any new species, a new program,
or a new hunting season requires additional attention from wildlife managers and can deplete funds
needed for other important wildlife programs. Also, many questions about management of wild turkeys
in northern habitats remain unanswered. Presentations at this meeting look at some of these questions:
turkey survival in northern hardwood/conifer habitats, how wildlife managers can potentially alter
habitats to enhance turkey survival, and the need for supplemental feeding.
         The Ecosystem: Ecologists, conservationists, and wildlife managers recognize that there are
ecological implications when introducing any 'exotic species,' such as wild turkeys, into an area where a
species has not existed in the past. Impacts on other species should always be considered. If we view an
ecosystem as a complex system of living organisms that are interrelated, adding any new organism to this
system may impact the other species. And back to economics, what are the costs to society to correct any
ecological problems that introductions could cause?         On the flip side, we need to recognize that
ecosystems have changed since the European settlement of North America. Agriculture has created a
stable source of winter food, which has made turkey range expansion possible.
         Increased Hunting: We've seen turkey hunting expand well beyond anyone's expectations as we
have restored wild turkeys to their original range and then expanded that range. Increased turkey hunting
opportunities benefit both the interests of the sporting public and the economy. There are many
thousands of hunters in North America looking for more hunting opportunities. In Minnesota, we
currently have 45,000 applicants for half that number of spring turkey hunting permits. Our paper for the
Sixth National Wild Turkey Symposium (1990), identified significant economic inputs from spring wild
turkey hunting. Turkey hunting and the economics associated with the sport become particularly
important to rural communities like Caledonia, MN, a town that adopted the name "Wild Turkey Capital
of Minnesota." During the spring wild turkey hunt, businesses in Caledonia place signs in store windows
reading, "Welcome Wild Turkey Hunters (Caledonia Chamber of Commerce)."
         The success of wildlife managers to restore wild turkeys to their original range and then expand
that range has been impressive. As we embark on the final frontier of establishing and managing northern
wild turkey populations, many new challenges now face us. The Northern Wild Turkey Workshop will
help identify and suggest solutions for these challenges.

WENDY J. KRUEGER, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural
  Resources, RR 1 Box 181, Madelia, MN 56062, USA

    Wild turkeys have been introduced to many areas north of their ancestral range. As turkeys continue
to be transplanted northward, wildlife managers have become increasingly concerned about weather
effects and management demands necessary to sustain northern populations. These concerns prompted a
survey of turkey biologists to obtain information on the current northern boundary of wild turkey range
across North America, plans for range expansion, and important management issues affecting northern
wild turkeys. Information from this survey may help wildlife agencies form a common vision for future
management of northern wild turkey populations.
    A mail survey was sent in late September 2001 to wildlife agency turkey biologists in the 11 states
and 7 provinces along the U.S.–Canada border. Follow-up phone calls and/or email messages were sent
to non-respondents starting in late October. Responses were ultimately received from all 18 states and
    Biologists were asked to draw the northern boundary where wild turkeys have been established at
least 5 years and identify their northernmost release site. Results indicate that wild turkey distribution has
expanded since 1999. Turkeys are found statewide in New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
Biologists in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec believe that turkeys have reached the northern limit in their
provinces. In Montana, turkeys are thought to be at the northern limit, but are expanding to interior areas
of the state that were not previously occupied. Of states and provinces with translocation programs, all
have had successful releases north of the ancestral limit, although many have had unsuccessful release
attempts as well. Apparent causes of unsuccessful releases include harsh weather conditions and food
limitations. Less than half (39%) of the surveyed agencies monitor winter weather conditions for wildlife
and only 39% have northern turkey research data available from within their state/province.
    The northernmost wild turkey populations (established at least 5 years) have generally originated
from birds within the respective state or province. Translocation was used to establish turkeys in 12
(71%) states/provinces, but turkey populations have also expanded into northern areas on their own. Only
Manitoba and Saskatchewan do not have a hunting season on their northernmost population. Turkey
populations at the northernmost range are found in a variety of habitats, including some with minimal
amounts of forested land. Agricultural habitats were reported present in all northernmost areas and
agricultural food sources (e.g., waste grain, corn silage, feedlots, manure) were most often listed as the
major winter food source. Most agencies do not provide supplemental food for wild turkeys, although 4
(24%) reported having a wildlife food plot program. Only 4 agencies have not received wild turkey
depredation or nuisance complaints from the northernmost range. However, most agencies indicated
“few” complaints. Major predators of northern wild turkeys include coyotes, great-horned owls and
    The top 3 management concerns of surveyed biologists were weather, food availability and habitat
limitations. When asked to identify the most important limiting factor for northern wild turkeys,
biologists rated weather and food related problems equally. Other management issues/problems included
winter feeding, game farm birds, depredation and public pressure to transplant birds into questionable
    Agency plans for turkey range expansion and research were also addressed in the survey. Although
most agencies (69%) do not have a written plan for moving turkeys northward, 53% are not intending to
release turkeys north of currently existing populations. The remaining agencies are planning limited
releases (20%), will decide on a case by case basis (7%) or do not know the status of future northern
releases (20%). Similarly, most agencies (67%) do not have a policy or plan for providing winter food for
wild turkeys even though food availability was a common concern among biologists for northern turkey
survival. Sixty-five percent of agencies reported that they receive light or no public pressure for
continued northern expansion of wild turkeys (the remaining 35% reported moderate pressure).
Conversely, 82% reported light or no opposition for expansion. Ninety-four percent of agencies reported
a need for more northern turkey research, but only 6 (35%) have research projects underway or planned.

TOM GLINES, Regional Field Supervisor, National Wild Turkey Federation, Senior Regional Director, 13075
   Linnet Street NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448

    In Minnesota, opportunity to hunt wild turkeys is below the demand. For the spring 2003 wild turkey
hunt, Minnesota is offering 25,016 hunting permits. In recent years more than 45,000 hunters have
applied for spring turkey hunting applications. At the present time, everyone in Minnesota that wants to
hunt ducks, deer, ruffed grouse, and pheasants has the opportunity. Minnesota turkey hunters are
dedicated hunters, with over 25,000 people belonging to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).
Many Minnesota hunters annually travel to other states to hunt wild turkeys.
    Habitat for wild turkeys in Minnesota ranges from prairie, with wooded river valleys, to hardwood
forests in the Mississippi blufflands to the northwestern part of the state. Wild turkeys exist in a wide
variety of habitat types throughout the state. Turkeys survived some of the toughest weather conditions
that Minnesota can "dish out" recently in northwestern Minnesota, during 2 successive severe “winters of
the century.” Surviving without standing corn or other "artificial means," the wildlife manager for the
northern most population in Minnesota was impressed with their ability to survive.
    The world is constantly changing and evolving as time goes by. Minnesota is now home to quite a
number of opossums, rarely found in the North Star State at the turn of the century. Muskellunge are now
being stocked artificially in many of Minnesota’s lakes. Pheasants that were not indigenous to Minnesota
are now commonly found in most of the agricultural areas of the state and have become part of our
hunting heritage. We are picking and choosing what we want to have……why don’t we want turkeys to
flourish past where they have already? NWTF members and other sportsmen in northern Minnesota are
asking for turkey releases north of the current population.

GARY C. NELSON, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, 411 Exchange Building,
   Winona, MN, 55987, USA

    Leopold projected the ancestral range of wild turkeys to include southern Minnesota. Wild turkeys
were extirpated from Minnesota by the late 1800’s. First attempts to re-establish wild turkeys (Meleagris
gallopavo silvestris) in Minnesota began in 1926 when 250 game-farm turkeys were released in Winona
and Houston counties in southeastern Minnesota and in the Minneapolis area. These initial releases failed
as did later attempts involving several hundred game-farm turkeys and turkeys with questionable genetic
origin. Between 1971 and 1973, 29 wild-trapped turkeys from Missouri were transplanted to Houston
County in extreme southeast Minnesota. Also, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, 229 turkeys were
received from Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. These releases
involved the trading of other wildlife species from Minnesota (e.g., ruffed grouse, prairie chickens,
Hungarian partridge, Canada geese, etc.). A total of 4,124 wild turkeys have been released at 188 sites in
Minnesota since 1976. Releases have now been completed well north of their ancestral range. All
releases have been successful. Minnesota’s current wild turkey population is estimated at approximately
45,000. Turkey populations increased to levels permitting hunting in 1978. Currently, more than 28,000
hunting permits are allocated for spring and fall seasons. Annual harvest is approximately 7,000 birds.
Individuals and sportsmen’s organizations are continually encouraging the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources to release wild turkeys further north. Concern among some ecologists however, is that
wild turkeys may then displace rare plant species in these areas, cause nuisance problems, etc. north of
their ancestral range.

JEFF BOWMAN, Wildlife Research and Development Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water
    Street, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
KAREN BELLAMY, Wildlife Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water Street, Peterborough,
    Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
LISA A. BRIDGES, Wildlife Research and Development Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300
    Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
MIKE W. MALHIOT, Wildlife Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water Street, Peterborough,
    Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
LINH NGUYEN, Wildlife Research and Development Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water
    Street, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
J. BRUCE POLLARD, Wildlife Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water Street, Peterborough,
    Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada
BRUCE A. POND, Wildlife Research and Development Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 300 Water
    Street, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 8M5, Canada

    Wild turkey populations were restored in the Canadian province of Ontario beginning in
1984. Turkeys are currently well established in the south of the province and restoration efforts
are expanding north. We are developing a model to identify the probable northern range limit of
wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in Ontario. This model will be used, in part, to improve
turkey management in the province by identifying reasonable limits for future turkey restoration
efforts. The model uses a combination of snow depth, temperature, and land cover variables to
identify a probability surface of turkey population persistence across Ontario. Our approach is
somewhat similar to the HSI modeling methods used previously by the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service. Sample units for model development are provincial ecodistricts. Probability
curves have been determined for values of each of our three model variables. These are weighted
and combined to estimate probability of turkey population persistence in each ecodistrict.
Although this approach itself is aspatial, our model is spatial, due to the inherent gradients in
climate across the province. Future turkey restoration and management efforts will serve to
validate and refine our model. We view model development and refinement as an iterative

RON ECKSTEIN, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 107 Stufliff Ave, Rhinlander, WI, 54501

         Wisconsin wildlife biologists expanded the range of the wild turkey north to the edge of
the extensive forests of northwestern and north central Wisconsin. Oneida County, in north
central Wisconsin, does not meet the Wisconsin DNR’s minimum habitat standards for
restocking wild turkeys. The county has extensive forests of young aspen and white birch with
some townships dominated by pine or northern hardwoods. There are scattered stands of red oak
but little agriculture. The county has long, cold, snowy winters. People in Oneida County are
anxious to get wild turkeys and argue that the extensive feeding of deer would pull turkeys
through any winter. Local biologists advised continuing with ruffed grouse management and did
not want to artificially support turkeys through feeding. Over the last 5-6 years local people
illegally stocked turkeys purchased from game farms. Currently, a small population of game
farm origin turkeys occurs in Oneida County. The affair raises questions of management of wild
turkeys in extensive, snowy, northern forests.

WILLIAM M. HEALY, Owl Run Farm, P.O. Box 187, Smithville, WV, 26178, USA

    Biological invasions by alien species are probably the most significant environmental
threat to the maintenance of natural forest ecosystems in North America and elsewhere.
Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) have been transplanted beyond their historic range
limits, especially in the western and northern regions of the United States. There is
concern that these deliberate range expansions may have negative ecological effects
because introduced species are more likely to become pests than are native species.
Introduced species that are likely to cause problems generally are capable of using
diverse food sources, have high reproductive capacity, and can reproduce under various
environmental conditions. Successful invasion by introduced species often occurs in
disturbed habitats and regions that lack effective predators. Many introduced species that
have become serious pests of agriculture or forestry caused similar problems in their
native ranges. Turkeys are habitat and food generalists, but, at least in North America,
range expansion has occurred in areas with an array of appropriate predators. Turkeys
were abundant and widespread across North America, where they co-existed with most of
the vertebrate species found in newly occupied ranges. During the recent period of
restoration and range expansion conflicts between turkeys and agriculture have been
minimal. There is no direct evidence that turkeys have had a negative effect on any other
vertebrate species, although there is a possibility for competitive interactions with other
species, especially those that consume tree seeds.
    Across the northeastern and north-central United States and southward through the
Appalachians, ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) numbers have declined as turkey
populations have increased. The greatest habitat overlap between grouse and turkeys
occurs during the brood -rearing period, but I have been unable to find evidence for direct
competition or interference between these species. Concurrent population changes for
grouse and turkeys are likely the result of the maturation of the forest and the loss of
early successional habitats. These changes are positive for turkeys and negative for

JASON P. HAMEL, Department of Natural Resources, 215 James Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham,
   NH 03824, USA
PETER J. PEKINS, Department of Natural Resources, 215 James Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
   03824, USA
MARK ELLINGWOOD, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 2 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, USA

    The influence of winter supplemental feeding on a northern population of eastern wild
turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo sylvestris) was investigated in western New Hampshire during
February, 2001 and 2002. Each winter, we attempted to measure weight loss, body composition,
energy expenditure, activity, and habitat use of 25 radio-marked, juvenile/adult hens at four sites
with distinct supplemental feeding treatments. In 2001 the amount of supplemental food, as a
proportion of maintenance energy, was manipulated in each group. In 2002 each group received
supplemental food from a different source such as agriculture, birdfeeders, and purposeful
feeding. Each study bird was injected with doubly labeled water and measurements occurred
over 15-27 day periods; energy expenditure was successfully measured in 19 of 25 hens
recaptured in 2001, and 13 of 25 hens in 2002.
    Turkeys were exposed to different environmental conditions during the two winters, and
those conditions dictated the difference in annual treatments. Frequent snowstorms and
persistent snow depths of 43-85cm limited ground forage and walking by turkeys in 2001.
Conversely, snow was minimal to absent in 2002 with unimpeded ground foraging and
movement, and reduced use of supplemental food. Relatedly, home ranges were only 6-33 ha in
2001, versus 22-283 ha in 2002.
    Most turkeys maintained weight (± 0.1 kg) during the trial periods, except for the 2001
agricultural group (9-17% loss). Body weight of juvenile and adult hens was about 5% less in
2001 than 2002. Body fat of juveniles in 2001 was 21% less (P>0.05) than that in 2002 ( x =462
± 35 g); adult body fat was 33% lower (P<0.05) in 2001 than 2002 ( x =793 ± 44 g). Mean body
fat (g) was 415 ± 25 in juveniles and was lower (P<0.05) than that of adults (657 ± 42 g) across
the study. Regression analysis showed a positive relationship between body fat and body weight
(Y=315.41x-641.18, r2=0.54, F=57.4, P<0.05). Fat depots represented about 13 and 17 days of
juvenile and adult field metabolic rate (FMR or daily energy expenditure), respectively.
    The mean FMR among treatment groups did not differ (P>0.05) across the study, ranging
from 344.3–391.4 kJ/kg/d, and was similar between age-class within treatment groups (P>0.05).
The mean FMR of juveniles was 7% higher in 2002, yet similar (P>0.05) in both years
( x =366.7 ± 15.5 and 393.7 ± 11.8 kJ/kg/d); adult FMR was greater (10%, P<0.05) in 2001 than
2002. The mean FMR of juveniles ( x =378.1 ± 10.5 kJ/kg/d) was 10% higher (P<0.05) than that
of adults across the study. The FMR:SMR (standard metabolic rate) ratio of all birds was 1.6
indicating that wild turkeys had low, efficient FMRs in disparate winter conditions.
    This study indicated that: 1) the FMR of juvenile and adult hens was consistently low
indicating that they seem adapted for low energy expenditure regardless of winter conditions, 2)
turkeys were adept at maintaining energy balance in deep snow without access to natural forage
by utilizing a modest amount of supplemental food and reducing movement, 3) extended periods
(>2 weeks) without access to forage will deplete the fat reserves of hens and place juveniles at
highest risk because of their higher FMR and lower fat depots, 4) food availability is probably
the key habitat characteristic influencing winter survival of northern wild turkeys, and 5) the
expansion and stability of northern turkey populations is likely dependent on supplemental food
in areas with persistent snow cover.

KURT J. HAROLDSON, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural
   Resources, RR1 Box 181, Madelia, MN 56062, USA

    The historic northern limit of wild turkeys extended from South Dakota through Michigan to
southern Maine. The northern boundary retreated south in severe winters and expanded north
following mild winters. Managers concluded from this range dynamic that northern turkey
distribution was constrained by winter severity. During the past 50 years, however, managers
have translocated wild turkeys well north of their historic range. Winter weather conditions at
these northern latitudes are more severe than those that wild turkeys have previously
experienced. A key management question, and a focus of this conference, is how far north to
proceed with wild turkey translocations. This paper explores how weather, food, and roosting
cover may limit the northern distribution of wild turkeys.
    The effect of cold temperatures on wild turkeys has been measured in laboratory studies.
Turkey metabolism increases with decreasing air temperature below a lower critical temperature;
estimates of lower critical temperature range from 11 to –16oC (52 to 3oF). The lower lethal
temperature is unknown, but turkey metabolism at –40oC (-40oF) was only 2.6 times the basal
rate. Energy expenditure of free-ranging turkeys was just 1.8 times the basal rate during 2
winters in New Hampshire. These measures of metabolic efficiency indicate that minimum
temperature does not directly limit wild turkeys from further range expansion.
    Temperature has an indirect effect on wild turkey range via increased food requirements.
Increased thermoregulatory costs associated with cold temperatures must be balanced by
increased food consumption or reduced energy expenditure. Deep snow typical of northern
winters can make most natural winter foods unavailable for wild turkeys, and fat depots
constitute only about 2-3 weeks of energy reserves. Pennsylvania birds starved during winters
with powder snow depth >30 cm (12 inches) for over 2 weeks. However, wild turkeys are
opportunists that will readily use supplemental foods, such as agricultural crops or livestock
manure, when natural foods are buried by snow. The increase in winter food availability
resulting from agriculture is likely the chief reason that wild turkey range could expand beyond
historic limits. Further range expansion will probably be constrained to regions where
agricultural practices provide a dependable source of winter food.
    Energy conservation is an alternate strategy for wild turkeys to satisfy their winter energy
demands. Selection of microhabitats, especially nocturnal roost sites, that minimize heat loss
from wind and radiation, and reduce travel distance to winter food, can reduce winter energy
requirements. Wild turkeys in Wisconsin and New Hampshire reduced energy expenditure in
severe winters by restricting their home range to sheltered (conifer) roost sites near supplemental
food sources. Distance between diurnal activity sites and nocturnal roost sites averaged <400 m
during 3 Minnesota winters, and distance traveled was inversely related to snow depth. The
northern range limit of wild turkeys may ultimately be determined by the ability and desire of
wildlife managers to provide dependable winter food within travel distance of secure roosting
habitat during winters with deep snow.

STEVE B. CHADWICK, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909, USA
C. ALAN STEWART, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909, USA

    Knowledge of environmental conditions that limit northern expansion of wild turkeys is important for
understanding population dynamics and management of the species. In the Great Lakes region, wild
turkey expansion is controlled by availability of winter food. The effects of snow depth and duration may
also impact the northern distribution of wild turkeys. We review climatic conditions, land cover,
agricultural practices, and social implications that impact wild turkeys in Michigan and the Upper

WILLIAM F. PORTER, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse,
   NY 13210

    In the early 1970's, conventional wisdom suggested that wild turkeys were unlikely to thrive in the
upper Midwest and the Northeast. Two hypotheses were at the heart of this notion: (1) severity of winter
weather produced high mortality, thereby limiting turkey populations to more moderate climates, and (2)
lack of forest cover in landscapes dominated by agriculture limited the amount of suitable habitat. Early
attempts to restore turkeys in Iowa and Wisconsin failed, apparently confirming these hypotheses.
However, later research efforts brought the insight necessary to overcome the initial failures and
encourage more aggressive restoration efforts. In the past 30 years, wild turkeys have been restored to
>600,000 km2 in the upper Midwest and Northeast and today number >1.5 million. This paper explores
the historical research leading to this success, and to the contemporary research that will be key to
confronting the new challenges on the horizon. Research conducted during the 1970's showed winter
weather could cause significant mortality where turkeys were limited to natural food resources. However,
where waste grain or corn food plots were present, turkeys could survive all but the most severe winters.
Research during the 1990s would confirm that it was access to food, rather than cold temperatures, that
affected survival. However, winter did not prove to be the universal key to understanding wild turkeys
across the northern latitudes. Spring and early summer weather were more important in several areas.
This difference may reflect abundant food supplies on landscapes in much of the region that are
composed of an interspersion of forest and agriculture. Abundant food resources may be shifting the
limiting factor from winter food to nesting success. Models of population dynamics that incorporate
spring weather now allow prediction of fall harvest with >90% accuracy. Wet conditions in the spring are
hypothesized to facilitating olfactory abilities of predators and thereby increase predator success in
locating nests. Findings now emerging from studies of landscape ecology of wild turkeys suggest that the
high degree of interspersion of forest and agriculture is promoting high predator populations. These
environments provide abundant and diverse buffer populations that support high predator populations.
Continued success of wild turkey populations is likely to require that managers focus on becoming more
effective in influencing government policies on landuse and educating societal values about trapping of

PATRICK D. HUBERT, Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois-Department of Natural Resources
   and Environmental Sciences, 350 Burnsides Lab, 1208 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.
TIMOTHY R. VAN DEELEN, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 107 Sutliff, Rhinelander, WI, 54501.
RICHARD E. WARNER, University of Illinois-Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences,
   1101 W. Peabody Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.
PATRICK W. BROWN, Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, IL 61820.

    Turkeys have been restored to central Illinois only in recent decades. A landscape that was
once largely prairie, is now dominated by corn and soybeans, and is among the most intensively
farmed in turkey range. Biologists have noted substantial differences in turkey abundance
among sites with similar landscape elements in the region, and the reasons were not obvious.
Hence, we compared hen survival and reproduction between study areas representative of these
trends in west- and south-central Illinois. We radio-tagged and monitored 116 hens from 1998-
2000 and emphasize the survival results here. The rates and patterns of survival were similar for
the two areas. Kaplan-Meier estimates of annual survival ranged from 0.38 to 0.50 among years
and areas, with a mean of 0.44 (SE = 0.02). Seasonal survival was highest during winter and
most losses were from predation during the nesting season. However, we also attributed deaths
to disease and extreme winter conditions. We present a preliminary model that predicts hen
survival based on key factors including age and habitat conditions. While turkey populations are
generally stable or increasing in central Illinois, populations may suffer losses typical of northern
or southern populations. Moreover, there is an accumulation of evidence that a nearly exclusive
consumption of waste grains may result in weight loss and possibly mortality, particularly under
extreme winter conditions.

LINH P. NGUYEN, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6,
JOSEF HAMR, Northern Environmental Heritage Institute, Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology,
   1400 Barrydowne Road, Sudbury, ON P3A 3V8, Canada
GLENN H. PARKER, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6,

    Recent success of eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) reintroductions across
southern Ontario has prompted wildlife managers to investigate the potential of extending the
northern limit of this subspecies’ range. Our objective was to monitor survival and reproduction
of 49 introduced wild turkeys on the Precambrian Shield in central Ontario. Annual survival of
39 radio-tagged hens, monitored from 1999 to 2001, averaged 0.288 + 0.057 (SE). Lowest
seasonal survival was observed in summer (0.545 + 0.092) followed by winter (0.678 + 0.091).
Summer (Z = 1.86) and winter (Z = 3.26) survival rates differed between the first and second
year of study (P < 0.10), primarily as a result of predation. Spring and fall survival rates did not
differ between years (P > 0.10). Observed reproductive parameters included nesting rate (0.588),
mean clutch size (10.0), nest success (0.500), hatching rate (0.81), hen natality rate (1.18), poult
survival (0.54), and fall recruitment (0.63). Success of the pilot wild turkey introduction in
central Ontario was compromised by high predation, low numbers of introduced birds, and a
prolonged period of deep snow during 2000-2001.

LINH P. NGUYEN, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6,
JOSEF HAMR, Northern Environmental Heritage Institute, Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology,
   1400 Barrydowne Road, Sudbury, ON P3A 3V8, Canada
GLENN H. PARKER, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6,

     Significant alterations of the central Ontario landscape by natural and human disturbances (e.g., fire,
logging, and smelter emissions from Sudbury’s mining operations) destroyed or reduced much of the
original climax vegetation, resulting in early-succession deciduous-dominated forests. Winter is the most
stressful season for satisfying energy demands, and eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)
exhibit behavioral adaptations to this stress by selecting favorable microclimates. We investigated winter
roost site selection of eastern wild turkeys to quantify roost habitat requirements and availability in a
northern landscape of questionable suitability. Roosting habitat use differed (P < 0.05) from availability
at the microhabitat level, with turkeys preferring to roost in the tallest (13.9 + 0.8 [SE] m) and largest
(37.7 + 3.0 cm) diameter at breast height (dbh) trees at high elevations (217.1 + 7.1 m). Although percent
canopy cover (73.3 + 8.8 vs. 70.4 + 9.7%) and tree density (849.3 + 127.7 vs. 764.3 + 110.9 trees/ha) did
not statistically deviate (P > 0.05) from random plots, higher percent canopy cover and tree density may,
in part, provide more protective roost sites for energy conservation. Patterns of roost site selection were
inconsistent across spatial (microhabitat and landscape) scales. Current forest resource inventory map
polygons in Ontario failed to provide sufficient detail (e.g., interspersions of clearings) for classification
of roosting habitat at the landscape level. Management of roosting habitat should include the maintenance
of mature coniferous trees dispersed throughout the forest, particularly in proximity to potential food
resources (e.g., agricultural land and spring seeps).

DALE F. KANE, Department of Biological Sciences, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN 56301
RICHARD O. KIMMEL, Farmland Wildlife Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, RR 1
   Box 181, Madelia, MN 56062
WILLIAM E. FABER, 7427 Cottonwood Rd., Cushing, MN 56443
GARY C. NELSON, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 411 Exchange Building, Winona, MN 55987

         The northern ancestral range of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is thought to include
southern Minnesota. Over the past several decades, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
(MNDNR) has expanded the range of wild turkeys north of the ancestral range through translocations of
wild birds. There is public interest, particularly from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey
Federation (NWTF), to continue to extend the range northward. However, little information exists on the
ecology and survival of wild turkeys at northern latitudes. Laboratory research suggests that
physiologically, wild turkeys should be able to survive northern Minnesota winters, provided they can
find food. Thus, food plots of standing corn could enhance turkey survival during severe winters. The
objectives of this study are to monitor winter survival of wild turkeys north of their ancestral range in
central Minnesota and to investigate the value of standing corn food plots and supplemental feeding on
turkey survival. We monitored 25 radio-tagged wild turkey hens on 1 study area with food during winter
(Jan 1 - Apr 1) 2001 and 82 hens on 4 study areas during winter 2002. Two study areas had standing corn
food plots and supplemental winter feeding and 2 study areas had only natural foods. Cause-specific
mortality was determined, when possible, through site investigation. The winter of 2001 had near-record
snow depths and low temperatures, and survival probability was only 0.034. Starvation was the cause of
mortality for 8 birds. The winter of 2002 was comparatively mild, but winter survival probability was
higher (P = 0.006) on study areas with supplemental food (0.708) compared to control areas (0.377).
However, by the end of August, cumulative survival probability was similar (P = 0.330) among treatment
and control areas.

KEITH WARNKE, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, WM/4, PO Box 7921, Madison, Wisconsin, 53707

    Wisconsin wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) range has expanded since reintroduction
in 1976 to well beyond what most early accounts considered the turkey range (Kubisiak
et al. 2001). Spring and fall turkey hunting currently extends beyond 460 N. Successful
range expansion is due in part to conservative harvest management. Our population
model assumes that fall harvest of females is additive to other causes of mortality.
Appropriate harvest rates for both males and females depend on the management
objective and will be affected by regional and temporal variation in rates of recruitment
and natural mortality. Management objectives in Wisconsin have shifted from restoration
to population maintenance and optimizing safe, high quality hunting opportunity. In
order to optimize hunting opportunity and maintain an expanding turkey population in
parts of the state, we collect various data (including mandatory harvest registration) that
provide insight to the population trend, sex ratio, and annual recruitment success as well
as hunter and landowner attitude surveys. The Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources Turkey Advisory Committee (TAC) employs a simple model that accounts for
these measured factors and provides a guideline for potential permit levels depending
upon the objective in a given zone. The TAC then takes into account field biologist’s
opinions and comments from turkey hunters and constituency groups to determine permit
levels. This method of establishing turkey permit levels and the tracking strategy
employed to implement adaptive harvest management will be discussed.

ANDREW A. TIMMINS, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 629B Main Street, Lancaster, NH 03584,
PETER J. PEKINS, Department of Natural Resources, 215 James Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
   03824, USA
MARK ELLINGWOOD, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 2 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, USA

     The ecology of a northern flock of eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo sylvestris) that
habitually fed off bunker silage on an isolated dairy farm was studied in New Hampshire’s upper
Connecticut River Valley from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2002. Over the course of the
study, 45 juvenile/adult females were radio-marked and monitored to determine migration timing
to and from the bunker silage site, spring dispersal distances to nesting sites, seasonal home
range, survival, reproductive demographics, and nesting habitat characteristics.
     Flock size averaged 250 birds each winter despite considerable difference in winter
conditions. During 2001, frequent snowstorms maintained persistent snow cover of 51cm;
limited snow cover and relatively open conditions occurred in 2002. The average spring
dispersal date from the wintering site was 7 April each year. Juveniles dispersed farther (11 km)
than adults (3 km). Home range averages were smaller during winter (20 – 40 ha) than
remaining seasons (259 – 518 ha). Survival of adults and juveniles was nearly complete (99%)
for all months, but declined to 85% and 88%, respectively, during the May-June
nesting/brooding period when hens were more vulnerable to predation.
     Thirty-two of 43 (74%) radio-marked hens attempted to nest. Nesting rate of adults was
higher (88%) than that of juveniles (58%). Twenty of 32 (63%) successfully hatched a clutch;
57% of adults and 73% of juveniles. Predation of hens during laying and incubation accounted
for 41% of nesting failures; predated nests accounted for 15% of nest failures. Predation
accounted for 72% of mortality during nesting. Mortality associated with nesting was higher in
2002 (83%) than 2001 (33%).
     The average nest initiation date of juveniles was 26 April in 2001 and 16 May in 2002; adults
initiated nesting on 4 May each year. Poult survival through two weeks post-hatch averaged
45% and 26% in 2001 and 2002, respectively. In 2001, poult survival remained at 45% during
week 2 post-hatch, and increased to 70% during week 3 post-hatch. Poult survival in 2002 could
not be assessed after week 2 because of the preponderance of multiple hen broods. Rainfall
averaged 1.5 inches/month in April-July in 2001, versus 3.8 inches/month in 2002. Wet and cold
conditions and delayed leaf-out may have influenced nesting success by causing hens to be more
visible to predators. Predator’s sense of smell is enhanced under these conditions, thereby
increasing vulnerability of nesting hens. Exposure to cold, wet conditions during the first few
days after hatch reduces poult survival.
     Seven of 15 (47%) turkeys radio-marked in 2001 returned to the study site in winter 2002.
Fidelity was complete and higher in adults (100%) than juveniles (33%). The average spring
dispersal distance for adults and juveniles showing fidelity were 2.1 and 2.6 km, respectively.
Juveniles that dispersed >16 km from the winter site in 2001 had no fidelity to the site in 2002.
They wintered, on average, 17 km from the original site.
     This study showed that: 1) turkeys migrate to supplemental food sources at the onset of
winter indicating these food sources are critical to winter survival in northern populations, 2)
movement to and from supplemental food sources was not entirely dictated by snow
accumulation and may be driven by learned behavior and photoperiod, 3) adults had complete
fidelity to the winter site by returning with their juveniles during the first winter, 4) 33% of
juveniles had fidelity therefore maintaining a stable population of wintering turkeys at the study
site, 5) juveniles without fidelity (67%) represent birds expanding into new areas indicating that
wintering sites serve as a population nucleus to a larger geographical area.

CHAD P. LEHMAN, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696
LESTER D. FLAKE, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696
DAN J. THOMPSON, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696
MARK A. RUMBLE, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 1730 Samco Road, Rapid City, SD 57702

    The Merriam’s wild turkey subspecies (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) was introduced into
the southern Black Hills by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (SDGFP) in
1950 and 1951. Merriam’s wild turkeys typically survive by feeding on ponderosa pine seeds
(Pinus ponderosa) in the Black Hills during winter, however, many Black Hills turkeys have
centralized wintering activities (i.e., roosting, feeding, and loafing) within or near ranches or
farmsteads that supply grain to turkeys indirectly through cattle feeding operations. Our study
objectives include evaluating winter survival, home range, and farmstead dependence of
Merriam’s turkeys in the southern Black Hills. Additionally, we compared winter survival and
home range between wild turkeys wintering in farmsteads and wild turkeys wintering in forest.
Preliminary results indicate high winter (1 Dec-25 Mar) survival for both farmstead (≥ 0.95) and
forest flocks (≥ 0.90), and survival did not differ between treatments (P ≥ 0.303). Data collection
also indicates a higher proportion of flocks wintering in farmsteads (2001: 90%, 2002: 67.5%)
during winter than in forest (2001: 10%, 2002: 32.5%). Two winters of data indicate that turkeys
do not have strong winter site fidelity (35.7% of surviving females returned to previous year’s
wintering area or farmstead). Winter home ranges (90% fixed kernal estimates) of farmstead
wintering females (mean = 819.98 ha ± 118.83) were smaller (P = 0.003) than forest wintering
females (mean = 1434.58 ha ± 205.70). Merriam’s turkeys have high winter survival in the
southern Black Hills, and pine seed availability and snow cover appear to influence wild turkey
farmstead dependence. This research project will benefit state and federal agencies in managing
this unique wild turkey population, and we will continue to monitor survival and farmstead
dependence through the winter of 2003.

DAN J. THOMPSON, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696
ROGER D. SHIELDS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 3900 Drane Field Road, Lakeland, FL
CHAD P. LEHMAN, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696
LESTER D. FLAKE, South Dakota State University, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Box 2140B,
   Brookings, SD 57007-1696

    Beginning in 1996, eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were introduced
into northeastern South Dakota. The releases occurred in Roberts, Marshall and Grant counties
along the Coteau des Prairie. Remnant populations of Rio Grande wild turkeys (M. g.
intermedia) were present in Roberts and Marshall counties despite removal attempts prior to and
during the studies. These birds became habituated to human activities near farmsteads and were
considered by some ranchers and farmers to be a nuisance. Managers wanted to determine if
eastern wild turkeys could be established to this region and possibly replace the remnant Rio
Grande population. Eastern turkeys were first studied in northeastern South Dakota in 1996 with
a primary objective of determining which subspecies was more suited to habitats in Marshall and
Roberts counties. Results indicated survival between subspecies did not differ, however a severe
winter did lower (P = 0.01) survival for eastern wild turkeys that did not use supplemental grain
on the northern study area. During spring and summer seasons, eastern wild turkeys had larger
home range sizes (P < 0.008), greater spring dispersal distances (P < 0.001) and marginally
higher poult survival (P < 0.07) than Rio Grande wild turkeys. During the winter months,
diurnal locations for eastern turkeys were further from farmsteads (P = 0.01) than for Rio
Grandes. Results indicate that eastern wild turkeys can survive the extreme winter conditions of
northeastern South Dakota.
    A second study in northeastern South Dakota was initiated in 1999 to evaluate introduction
of eastern wild turkeys to the minimally forested (<10%) habitats of Grant County, South
Dakota. Introduced easterns experienced high survival during all seasons (³ 80%), with winter
survival generally > 95%. In 1999 and 2000, female annual survival rate ranged from 64% –
75% respectively, with mortality predominantly caused by avian and mammalian predators,
haying equipment, automobiles, and unknown causes. Nesting and renesting rates for the 2 years
averaged 93% and 45%, respectively. Nest success for all nests from 1999-2000 was 50% and
hen success was 62% during the two years. Depredation was the primary cause of nest failure
during both years. Individual poult survival to 4 weeks post-hatch averaged 36%. In Grant
County, turkeys seldom utilized agricultural lands that lacked natural woodlands, and generally
preferred woody cover and pasture habitats. Cropland was used less than available during all
seasons except during brood rearing, when brood females preferred cropland to pastureland.
    Habitats in Marshall, Roberts, and Grant counties appear to satisfy requirements for survival,
reproduction, and brood rearing by female eastern wild turkeys. Therefore it is recommended
that eastern wild turkeys continue to be released in future introduction efforts in eastern South

GEORGE V. KLEMOLIN, University of Wisconsin, Department of Wildlife Ecology, 218 Russel Labs, 1630
    Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706
SCOTT LUTZ, University of Wisconsin, Department of Wildlife Ecology, 218 Russel Labs, 1630 Linden Drive,
    Madison, WI 53706
KARL MARTIN, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 107 Sutliff Ave, Rhinlenader, WI 54501
JIM WOODFORD, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 107 Sutliff Ave, Rhinlenader, WI 54501
KURT THIEDE, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 101 South Webster, Madison, WI 53706
KEITH WARNKE, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 101 South Webster, Madison, WI 53706

    Most models used to manage turkey populations and turkey hunting assume that hen
mortality due to hunting is additive. This assumption, used in combination with other population
data collected in Wisconsin, has been very successful in promoting turkey range expansion.
Conservatism when establishing harvest quotas based on the assumption of completely additive
mortality has limited managers’ ability to optimize hunting opportunity because we lack detailed
understanding of the effects of hunting on the female cohort of the population. In order to better
describe turkey biology in northern Wisconsin where severe winters and atypical habitat impact
turkey populations, we are investigating relationships between eastern wild turkey (Meleagris
gallopavo) abundance, population dynamics and habitat characteristics. Our research will be
conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, harvest data collected from mandatory spring harvest
questionnaires were used to generate an abundance index (AI) in Wisconsin Turkey Management
Zones. The AI will be used to investigate variation among regions of the state. We utilize
ARCGIS 8.2 and WISCLAND satellite data to generate maps of 12 cover classes (i.e.,
Urban/Developed, Agricultural Crops, Grasslands, Coniferous Forest, Broad-leaved Deciduous
Forest, Mixed Deciduous/Coniferous Forest, Open Water, Emergent/Wet Meadow Wetlands,
Lowland Shrub Wetlands, Forested Wetlands, Barren Ground, and Shrublands). These coverages
will be analyzed using FRAGSTATS software to quantify proportion of cover types and land
pattern indices such as edge density, contrast weighted edge density, interspersion and
juxtaposition, contagion, and patch density. We will use regression analysis to determine if
relationships exist between these landscape characteristics and the AI. In Phase 2 we will
radiomark turkeys to evaluate Phase 1 findings, estimate survival, hunting mortality, and nest
success, and quantify activity and habitat use. The analysis will aid in optimizing spring and fall
turkey hunting opportunities in northern Wisconsin and improve the allocation of limited
revenues available for turkey habitat management.

GARY DROTTS, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 1601 Minnesota Dr., Brainerd, Minnesota 56401

        Minnesota’s wild turkey trap and transplant program has been a huge success and has
greatly expanded wild turkey range in Minnesota. However, as managers transplant wild turkeys
northward, ecological limits may limit further range expansion. Various input sources (i.e.,
ecological classification system, satellite images, statewide land cover typing, habitat models,
weather, etc.) and tools can be used to better understand ecological limits for wild turkey range
expansion. These input sources and tools will be demonstrated and discussed to provide insight
into what may limit the northern range for wild turkeys in Minnesota.

KARI L. DINGMAN, Department of Biological Sciences, Minnesota State University, S-242 Trafton Science
   Center, Mankato, MN 56001.
RICHARD O. KIMMEL, Farmland Wildlife Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, RR 1
   Box 181, Madelia, MN 56062.
JOHN D. KRENZ, Department of Biological Sciences, Minnesota State University, S-242 Trafton Science Center,
   Mankato, MN 56001.
BROCK R. MCMILLAN, Department of Biological Sciences, Minnesota State University, S-242 Trafton Science
   Center, Mankato, MN 56001.

    Minnesota is at the northern boundary of ancestral wild turkey range. Translocation efforts by the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) have expanded the wild turkey range, population,
and hunting opportunities north of historic limits. The first spring wild turkey hunting season in
Minnesota was in 1978; 420 permits were available in 2 permit areas. Currently, 24,136 permits are
available for spring hunting in 50 permit areas. Demand for turkey hunting permits in Minnesota exceeds
permit availability, but expanding hunting opportunities through further turkey range expansion appears
    Minnesota uses a permit system to distribute wild turkey hunters across time and space. Hunters
apply for 1 of 8 spring seasons, each 5 days in length, within 1 permit area. MDNR uses a model to
allocate permits for each season and permit area. Model inputs include turkey population size and hunter
crowding factors. Permit allocations for each permit area are adjusted inversely for hunter crowding in an
attempt to increase hunt quality and continue hunter safety. The objective of this investigation is to
determine the relationship between indices of hunter crowding (i.e., hunter interference, access to land for
hunting) and hunt quality (i.e., number of turkeys seen, number of turkeys shot at, hunting success) for
the spring turkey season in Minnesota.
    A mail survey was sent to 1,839 spring turkey hunters in 8 permits areas and 8 seasons in Minnesota
immediately following the close of the spring 2002 hunting season. Permit areas were selected based on
landownership (% of private vs. public land) and previously estimated interference rates. We asked
questions about number of turkeys seen while hunting, number of turkeys shot at, ease of access to
huntable land, feeling of danger while in the field, interference from other hunters, and overall hunt
quality. After 3 mailings the response rate was 88.6%.
    Results were compared to a similar survey from the 1999 spring season in Minnesota. Hunter
interference rates decreased between 1999 and 2002 in all permit areas. Hunter interference may have
decreased due to hunters establishing hunting patterns over time and restricting movements between
hunting areas. High hunter interference could be expected to occur in permit areas newly opened to
turkey hunting because hunters would be moving while looking for hunting spots and areas with birds.
    We expected to see a negative correlation between hunter interference and hunt quality. However,
hunter interference was negatively correlated with hunt quality rating in only 1 permit area (r2 = -0.271, P
< 0.05). Interference was not related to hunt quality in 6 permit areas, and no correlation could be
calculated in permit area 450 because no hunter interference was reported.
    We expected to see a positive correlation between land access and hunt quality because of the large
proportion of private land in Minnesota. When hunters were asked to rate access to land for hunting on a
4-point scale of “Very Easy”, “Somewhat Easy”, “Somewhat Difficult”, and “Very Difficult,” access was
positively correlated with hunt quality rating in 4 of 8 permit areas (0.268 < r2 < 0.470, P < 0.01).
    The average hunt quality rating for the 8 permit areas ranged from 6.00 to 7.24, on a scale of 0 (poor)
to 10 (excellent). As the number of wild turkey hunters increases and the amount of huntable turkey
habitat remains the same or declines, hunter interference and ease of access should be periodically
monitored to maximize permit numbers while providing a quality hunting experience.

CHRISTOPHER O. KOCHANNY, Advanced Telemetry Systems, Inc., 470 First Ave N, Isanti, MN 55040 USA
VALERIAN B. KUECHLE, Advanced Telemetry Systems, Inc., 470 First Ave N, Isanti, MN 55040 USA
RICHARD A. HUEMPFNER Advanced Telemetry Systems, Inc., 470 First Ave N, Isanti, MN 55040 USA

    Selection of the different components of a terrestrial radio location system are described.
This includes transmitters, receivers, and antennas. Trade-offs involved in selection of each of
these components is discussed. We discuss how those components are affected by temperature.
The shift of frequency with temperature in the receiver and transmitter are the most apparent
affects. We present data showing the magnitude and deviation of frequency shift with
temperature. Temperature affects on power output are also shown. We conclude by suggesting
ways in which the user may mitigate effects of cold weather and ways of writing specifications
to improve the performance of equipment under cold weather conditions.

ROBERT C. MADDREY, Director of Partnership Programs, National Wild Turkey Federation
DAVID G. NEU, Upper Midwest Regional Biologist, National Wild Turkey Federation

    The Northern Michigan Winter Habitat Enhancement Project began in 2000 with a mission
to enhance survivability of wild turkeys in a 5-county area in the northeastern part of the state
through habitat manipulation and enhancement. Winter feeding of wildlife in this area was
curtailed during an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis. Concern was raised by hunters and property
owners about the ability of the habitat to support existing turkey flocks. The project is 2-fold in
nature; an annual corn food plot planting program for immediate winter food availability and a
long term fruit-bearing tree planting program. Approximately 200 total acres of corn food plots
have been planted each year through this program with the help of volunteer farmers and
landowners. The corn is left unharvested to provide winter food for wild turkeys and other
wildlife. In addition, more than 20,000 Sargent crabapples, with tree shelters, have been planted
by NWTF chapters and volunteers on cooperating landowners’ property. Corporate support has
been outstanding for the project and plans are to continue this program into the foreseeable

JOHN MORIARTY, Ramsey County Parks, 2015 North Van Dyke Street, Maplewood, Minnesota, 55109
BRYAN LUETH, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, 5463 C West Broadway,
   Forest Lake, MN 55025

    Introductions of wild turkeys into the Twin Cities area in Minnesota were limited to fringes
of the metro where hunting is still allowed. Over the decade, turkey populations have increased
and expanded to the point where they are found in almost every community in the Twin Cities.
These communities provide winter food and shelter, limited predators, and protection from
hunting. These factors have resulted in a fast growing population that is tolerant of human
activities and show much less fear of people. This tolerance has led to increased complaints
about turkeys in yards, on bird feeders, and as threats to children. The threat to children has
raised turkeys to a public safety risk, resulting in police departments dispatching some aggressive
suburban turkeys. The removal of the birds raised another set of issues, which will be discussed.

                             NEW HAMPSHIRE
                          Wild Turkey Status Report
                                       Andrew Timmins
Population Status
The statewide population as of August 2002 was estimated to be 23,000 wild turkeys. The
population continues to expand and increase in the counties in central and northern New
Hampshire. The majority of northernmost Coos County is still closed to hunting, but most of
this county will be opened for a 2-week spring shotgun hunt beginning in May 2003.

No fall shotgun season has yet been initiated anywhere in the state. Statewide, only 9 towns
have had harvest densities greater than 1.0 gobbler per square mile, and only 1 of 17 wildlife
management units has approached this threshold (H1; 0.89 gobblers per square mile).

This year (2002) marks the second consecutive year with a “fair to good” acorn crop; the 2002
beech nut crop appears “fair” compared to a bust in production in 2001. The winter of 2001/02
was one of the easiest winters for turkey flocks in history, with limited snow and expansive bare
ground throughout the winter, which facilitated good access to assorted foods.

It appears that production of young turkeys for summer 2002 was below the long-term average,
and that considerable re-nesting occurred. There is speculation that 5-inch snowfalls on April
27-28th and May 18-19th may have caused nest abandonment, and that heavy rainfalls on May 31,
June 6, June 12th, may have caused chick mortality. Of brood sighting reports, half of the
estimated hatch dates were in May, and half in June. A sample of N=16 broods from June had
an average of 6.9 poults per hen.

Trap and Transplant
No turkeys have been transplanted in NH since 1995. However, a total of 226 turkeys were
trapped and handled during February/March 2002, as part of 2 research studies.

Fall 2001 Turkey Archery Season
A record 256 turkeys were registered from 124 towns during the September 15 – December 15,
2001 fall archery-only turkey season. The harvest was composed of 69 immature hens (27.0%),
107 adult hens (41.8%), 37 jakes (14.5%), and 43 toms (16.8%).

May 2002 Spring Gobbler Season
A total of 2,586 gobblers and 38 bearded hens were registered from 200 towns, for an increase of
364 bearded birds (16%) from the previous year. The harvest was comprised of 52.5% jakes; a
harvest ratio of 1.1 jakes per tom. The average age ratio for the past 19 years is 1.4 jakes per

Opening day May 3rd (Friday) recorded 645 gobblers (25.1%), and by May 12th, 77.5% of the
season total had been registered. Nine of the state’s ten counties had an increase in harvest.

Only 34 towns had kill densities better then 0.5 gobblers/sq. mile, and only 9 of these towns had
harvests greater than 1.0/sq. mile. The best harvests per wildlife management units were:
H1 (0.89), H2 (0.55), D (0.49).

Hunting Regulation Issues
The Turkey Team, consisting of 5 biologists, met several times during the project year to discuss
the need for potential changes in the turkey season framework and to review proposals for
hunting season regulations. The team recommended not to allow a 2nd gobbler (by archery)
during the spring season, recommended that the remainder of Coos County (units A1, A2, B, C1
C2) be open to spring hunting, and not to initiate a fall shotgun season at this time. It was further
suggested that a turkey hunter questionnaire be developed, that the turkey management plan be
updated, and that plans be developed for a youth turkey hunt.

Turkey Research Studies
Two turkey studies are nearing completion in NH. One study deals with the behavior and
productivity of turkeys dependent on bunker-silage during winter months. The second study
focuses on the energy budget of free-ranging wintering turkeys and their dependence on
supplemental feed.

Habitat Management
This was the fifth year that 31 crabapple plots or mini-orchards were put out by the four regional
biologists/technicians. A total of 640 trees of 4 varieties (Manchurian, Red Splendor, Sugar
Tyme, Indian Summer) were purchased from Hilltop Nursery in Hartford, Michigan.

Hunting Accidents
Two turkey hunting accidents (mistaken for game) occurred in NH during 2002.

Season Dates
Fall 2002 Turkey Season (archery only): September 15 (Sunday) – December 15 (Sunday).
Spring 2003 Gobbler Season: May 3 (Saturday) – May 31 (Saturday).

                           Wild Turkey Status Report
                       J. Bruce Pollard, Mike Malhiot, and Karen Bellamy

Ontario initiated wild turkey restoration efforts in 1984 with the release of 274 birds trapped in 6
states and released within the province. By 2002, populations had been restored across most of
the historic range, with a provincial population estimated at over 48,500 birds. In Ontario,
agricultural land use has extended suitable range into landscapes beyond historic range; the area
occupied by wild turkeys is currently estimated at 47,270 km2. The northern limit of the species
may be constrained by persistent deep snow that restricts mobility and access to widely dispersed
food sources. However, wild turkeys have expanded into agricultural landscapes abutting the
Canadian Shield, especially in the snow-belt zone of northern Simcoe County. We believe this is
due to the provision of supplemental winter foods, the availability of improved brood habitat,
and in providing forest openings that enhance turkey mobility due to reduced snow depth and
duration caused by increased sunlight and wind exposure. Habitat conditions in the specific areas
of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest zone beyond areas currently occupied by wild turkeys
may also be suitable. Limiting factors are expected to include the extent of agriculture, the
nature of cropping practices (which will effect winter food availability and mobility), and the
pattern and duration of deep snow events. Québec and Nova Scotia are currently assessing the
feasibility and appropriateness of introducing wild turkeys on those landscapes. Although wild
turkey populations are within 50 km of the ME-NB border region, New Brunswick does not
currently foresee the introduction of this species in the province.

                          Wild Turkey Status Report
                                           Al Stewart

Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were a common element of Michigan’s
landscape prior to the arrival of European settlers. During pre-Columbian times it is estimated
that more than 94,000 wild turkeys were found in Michigan. The birds were abundant
throughout southern Michigan south of a line from Saginaw to Muskegon. The birds provided
subsistence for many early settlers that came here to carve out their homesteads. In 1833, a
settler named William Nowlin called turkeys near his home in Dearborn. In 1886, William B.
Mershon shot a 23-3/4 pound bird near Reese in Saginaw County. The eastern wild turkey was
abundant in southern Michigan until 1875. Unfortunately, as human populations grew, land was
cleared, habitat was destroyed and the wild turkey was heavily exploited. The last definite report
of a wild turkey on record for Michigan was a bird taken in January 1897 in Arlington Township
of Van Buren County. It is believed that wild turkeys were extirpated from Michigan by 1900.

With the wild turkey removed from every county in Michigan, conservationists set out to
reestablish the bird, but their efforts met with limited success. In 1905, Cleveland-Cliffs Mining
Company released turkeys on Grand Island, off Munsing in Lake Superior, but the birds did not
survive. The earliest documented attempt by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to
reestablish turkeys in Michigan was in 1919 and 1920. In those two years, 65 hand-reared wild
turkeys were released at the Sanford Game Refuge. Birds were seen in the vicinity until 1925,
but the refuge manager reported that the birds were “popped-off” by violators.

Successful restoration efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, working with
its conservation partners in the 1950s and more recently in the 1980s, have allowed wild turkeys
to once again be a part of Michigan’s natural landscape. By the early 1980s, about 15,000 wild
turkeys ranged over portions of 8,000 square miles in the Mio, Baldwin and Allegan areas; 90
percent of this population was located north of ancestral turkey range. In 1983, a major emphasis
was placed on restoring and expanding wild turkey populations in the state. Since then, turkeys
have become distributed throughout much of Michigan, with the most notable expansion
occurring in the southern one-third of the state. In 1986, there were approximately 2,000 turkeys
in the Upper Peninsula (UP), 13,600 birds in the northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) and 1,200
birds in the southern Lower Peninsula (SLP). Today, populations have expanded to more than
13,000 birds in the UP, 68,000 birds in the NLP and 84,000 wild turkeys in the SLP. Turkey
numbers in the UP are increasing slowly and are stable throughout most of the NLP, because
these birds are subject to more winter stress. However, in the SLP, turkeys continue to rapidly
increase and have expanded into most of the suitable habitat. Today, turkeys inhabit 76 of
Michigan’s 83 counties.

The first Michigan turkey hunting season in recent times took place in 1965 with a fall season in
the Allegan area. Fall seasons have occurred annually from 1965-1969 and 1986-2002, except
1994 and 1997 (Table 1). Since 1968, spring turkey hunting has been the primary season (Table
2). Managing wild turkeys in Michigan involves the complex interactions of turkey populations,
their habitats and their relationship to people. The goal of Michigan’s spring hunting season has
been maximizing hunting opportunity while maintaining satisfactory hunting experiences. As

wild turkeys have become more abundant, management strategies have changed and spring
turkey hunting opportunities have increased in step with the resource. The impacts of these
hunting season changes are evaluated after each season through input from hunters and resource
managers and by using information from surveys sent to randomly selected hunters.

When wild turkeys had limited distribution and low numbers, hunters were managed by
restricting hunter numbers within short time periods and confined hunting areas. Today, license
quotas are based on turkey population data, harvest and hunter success data, and results of hunter
satisfaction surveys that monitor interference and other hunt qualities. Current management
guidelines use the following criteria to measure satisfaction:
         >50 percent of hunters feel their hunting experience was good to excellent,
         >70 percent of hunters receive no or only minor interference from other hunters, and
         >20 percent hunter success.

More recently, an emphasis has been placed on providing hunters with choices among a diversity
of potential hunt units and time periods. This includes the “Guaranteed Hunt Period,” a statewide
hunt (except public lands in southern Michigan) available to any hunter who applies for this hunt
or is unsuccessful in drawing a limited-quota license for their preferred hunt.

Hunting opportunity has changed significantly in a relatively short period of time. In 2001, 78%
of the state (43,869 square miles) was open for spring turkey hunting from April 23 through May
31. The area open for turkey hunting was the most ever and, for the first time in Michigan’s
history, wild turkeys could be hunted in every county in the Lower Peninsula plus areas of the
Upper Peninsula. The effect of wild turkey restoration is evident when comparing the 2001
spring season to the 1979 spring season. In 1979, there were only 4,914 square miles open to
spring turkey hunting. The season ranged from April 26 to May 13, with short hunt periods.
There were 17,643 applicants. The 8,982 hunters had a 7% hunter success and harvested 627
turkeys. In 2001, an estimated 88,963 hunters harvested 32,000 turkeys. Statewide, 36% of the
hunters harvested a turkey. The 2001 turkey harvest was the largest in Michigan’s history.

Although most hunters and Michigan residents are satisfied with current wild turkey distribution,
an issue that wildlife managers have faced for some time is how to best balance people’s desire
to have turkeys further north with the abilities of wild turkeys to survive severe winters.

Table 1. Spring turkey hunting data for Michigan, 1965 - present.
               Hunting Season
                   Dates                 License                    Licenses   Actual    Effort              Land Open    Percent of     Hunt         Total    Hunter    License Total Harvest for
  Year         Open     Closed            Quota        Applicants    issued    hunting   (days)    Harvest    (Sq. Mi.)     State      Population   Population Success   Success       year
  1965                                                                                                                        0          NA            NA        0         0             82
  1966                                                              CLOSED                                                    0          NA            NA        0         0            164
  1967                                                                                                                        0          NA            NA        0         0            125
  1968         5/6/68       5/12/68        800            8,648      800        514        232        25        NA           NA          NA            NA        9          9           160
  1969         5/9/69       5/19/69       3,200          11,895     3,200      2,472       818        50        NA           NA          NA            NA         2        27            79
  1970         5/6/70       5/20/70       5,000           7,931     4,294      3,521      7,307       91      4,049         7.23         NA            NA         2        54            91
  1971        4/30/71       5/14/71       4,600           9,741     4,600      3,772      8,156       96      4,224         7.55         NA            NA         2        47            96
  1972        4/28/72       5/17/72       5,500           11,275    5,205       NA         NA        152      4,224         7.55         NA            NA         4        46           152
  1973        4/27/73       5/16/73       4,600           10,821    4,600       NA         NA        198      4,587         8.20         NA            NA         5        43           198
  1974        4/26/74       5/19/74       4,600           16,763    4,600       NA         NA        238      4,587         8.20         NA            NA         6        27           238
  1975        4/23/75       5/18/75       4,900           21,878    4,900       NA         NA        349      4,245         7.58         NA            NA         9        22           349
  1976        4/28/76       5/16/76       5,850           20,345    5,809       NA         NA        397      4,168         7.45         NA            NA         8        29           397
  1977        4/27/77       5/15/77       6,375          16,545     6,195       NA         NA        476      4,399         7.86        4,000         7,000       9        37           476
  1978        4/26/78       5/14/78       9,775          17,643     8,072       NA         NA        618      4,399         7.86        5,000         8,000       9        46           618
  1979        4/26/79       5/13/79       10,575         17,562     8,982       NA         NA        627      4,914         8.78        6,000         9,000       9        51           627
  1980        4/23/80       5/11/80       12,500          20,093    10,447     11,328     12,399     844      5,432         9.71        7,000         10,000     10        52           844
  1981        4/20/81       5/11/81       18,050          33,203    16,404      NA        45,220   1,033      6,370         11.38       8,000         11,000     11        49          1,033
  1982        4/22/82       5/17/82       23,165          22,043    17,588     15,468     45,914   1,748      7,799         13.93       8,300         12,000     12        80          1,748
  1983        4/25/83       5/22/83       24,030          23,233    18,327     15,435     45,703   1,746      8,699         15.54       8,613         12,000     11        79          1,746
  1984        4/23/84       5/28/84       21,277          23,021    18,126     14,894     48,494   1,458      9,027         16.13       9,442         12,184     10        79          1,458
  1985        4/22/85       5/26/85       15,010          22,680    15,010     11,982     48,051   2,016      9,170         16.38       9,878         12,151     17        66          2,016
  1986        4/21/86       5/21/86       16,650          25,458    16,606     13,037     50,451    2,361      9,918        17.72       13,402        16,980     18        65          2,476
  1987        4/20/87       5/20/87       17,640          23,232    16,696     14,378     58,114    3,260     12,186        21.77       17,849        24,048     23        72          3,493
  1988        4/18/88       5/25/88       20,260          28,326    20,227     14,894     70,830    4,567     14,560        26.01       30,379        34,273     26        71          5,404
  1989        4/17/89       5/19/89       25,080          38,782    24,849     22,199     87,235    6,195     18,682        33.38       44,125        50,797     28        64          8,291
  1990        4/23/90       5/27/90       30,575          50,000    30,575     27,728    113,107    8,456     22,047        39.39       50,409        57,821     30        61          13,241
  1991        4/22/91       5/26/91       37,880          50,847    36,688     33,679    138,404    9,636     23,759        42.45       59,225        64,735     29        72          14,650
  1992        4/20/92       5/24/92       43,780          64,851    42,680     38,950    190,526   11,847     26,566        47.47       68,511        75,102     30        66          17,652
  1993        3/30/93       5/30/93       50,625          73,242    50,285     44,669    227,628   12,931     27,836        49.73       71,600        76,730     29        69          17,374
  1994        4/25/94       5/29/94       53,992          73,800    54,388     48,354    221,874   11,429     28,879        51.60       63,117        72,117     24        74          11,429
  1995        4/24/95       5/28/95       56,131          78,300    54,789     54,789    225,248   13,119     29,250        52.26       77,200        86,076     27        70          14,313
  1996        4/22/96       5/31/96       53,921          88,039    74,241     63,076    250,000   15,514     36,080        64.46       79,689        92,875     25        84          16,523
  1997        4/21/97       5/19/97       54,660          85,936    70,701     61,818    247,505   15,554       NA           NA          NA           92,348     25        82          15,554
  1998        4/20/98       5/18/98       59,430         102,810    64,474     58,872    225,583   19,262       NA           NA          NA            NA        33        63          21,563
  1999        4/19/99       5/17/99       70,780         108,196    71,295     66,790    261,930   24,973     42,465        75.87        NA          135,758     37        66          31,424
  2000        4/17/00       5/15/00       79,990         125,812    84,475     78,376    315,546   30,353     42,537        76.00        NA          125,477     39        67          39,330
  2001        4/23/01       5/31/01       77,200         139,937    95,592     88,894    350,798   37,993     42,537        76.00        NA          144,742     36        68          45,483

Table 2. Fall turkey hunting data for Michigan, 1965 - present.
           Hunting Season Dates        License                    Licenses   Actual                              Land Open    Percent of   Hunt       Total     Hunter License Total Harvest for
  Year       Open         Closed        Quota      Applicants      issued    hunting   Effort (days)   Harvest    (Sq. Mi.)   state open Population Population Success Success       year
  1965      11/6/65      11/14/65        400         13071          397       NA           NA            82         NA           NA         NA         NA         22      3.0          82
  1966      11/2/66      11/10/66        900          8904          900       NA           NA           164         NA           NA         NA         NA         24      10.1        164
  1967      11/3/67      11/12/67       1400         10000         1400       NA           NA           125         NA           NA         NA         NA        12.6     14.0        125
  1968      11/1/68      11/10/68       1500          8618         1500       NA          4660          135        1647          2.9        NA         NA         9       17.4        160
  1969     10/31/69      11/10/69       1000          4103         1000       NA           NA            29        2782          5.0        NA         NA         4       24.4         79
  1970                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0           91
  1971                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0           96
  1972                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0          152
  1973                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0          198
  1974                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0          238
  1975                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0          349
  1976                                                                                                                           0.0         0         NA        0.0       0          397
  1977                                                                                                                           0.0         0        7,000      0.0       0          476
  1978                                                                                                                           0.0         0        8,000      0.0       0          618
  1979                                                                                                                           0.0         0        9,000      0.0       0          627
  1980                                                                                                                           0.0         0        10,000     0.0       0          844
  1981                                                                                                                           0.0         0        11,000     0.0       0          1,033
  1982                                                                                                                           0.0         0        12,000     0.0       0          1,748
  1983                                                                                                                           0.0         0        12,000     0.0       0          1,746
  1984                                                                                                                           0.0         0        12,184     0.0       0          1,458
  1985                                                                                                                           0.0         0        12,151     0.0       0          2,016
  1986     10/15/86      10/29/86        600           600          600       523                       115         122          0.2       13402      16,980      22     100.0        2,476
  1987      10/5/87      10/29/87       1250          1217          948       826                       233         684          1.2       17849      24,048      27      77.9        3,493
  1988      10/8/88       11/6/88       1350          1062         1022       891         3246          837         973          1.7       30379      34,273      58      96.2        5,404
  1989      10/4/89      11/14/89       5900          9032         5497       4427        15616         2096       6566         11.7       44000      50,797      35      60.9        8,291
  1990      10/8/90       11/5/90       15600         13069        11903     10393        35157         4785       12247        21.9        NA        57,821      42      91.1       13,241
  1991     10/17/91       11/4/91       12375         18036        11634     10152        33890         5014       15437        27.6        NA        64,735      44      64.5       14,650
  1992      10/5/92       11/2/92       17335         24910        17240     14975        54081         5805       16334        29.2        NA        75,102      39      69.2       17,652
  1993      10/4/93       11/1/93       14925         20356        14925     12867        50026         4443       14897        26.6        NA        76,730      35      73.3       17,374
  1994                                                            CLOSED                                                         0.0         0        72,117      0        0         11,429
  1995      10/2/95      10/29/95       4207          5186         3430       3430        16146         1194       4955          8.9        NA        86,076      35      66.1       14,313
  1996      10/7/96       11/9/96       4128          4128         3406       3406        17647         1009       4129          7.4        NA        92,875      30      82.5       16,523
  1997                                                            CLOSED                                                         0.0        NA        92,348      0       0.0        15,554
  1998      10/5/98       11/8/98       10250         19248        6438       5712        26844         2301       12378        22.1        NA         NA         40      33.4       21,563
  1999      10/4/99       11/9/99       32900         33391        18244     15925        76677         6451       24526        43.8        NA       135,758      41      54.6       31,424
  2000      10/2/00       11/9/00       38618         46030        36124     20702       107037         8977       27632        49.4        NA       125,477      34      78.5       39,330
  2001      10/8/01       11/9/01       33500         38952        32675     16402        90475         7490       27329        48.8        NA       144,742      35      83.9       45,483

                          Wild Turkey Status Report
                                         Keith Warnke

The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) occupied much of southern Wisconsin
south of a line from Prairie du Chien to Green Bay at the time of European settlement (Kubisiak
et al. 2001). The northern boundary of this range has been debated and clearly fluctuated with
the severity of winters and population size, but it is well accepted that turkeys now occupy a far
greater portion of Wisconsin than they did historically. Unregulated market hunting, widespread
timber harvest, and introduced disease from domestic poultry were largely responsible for the
extirpation of wild turkeys from Wisconsin by the end of the 19th century.

The first attempt at restocking was made as early as 1887 by private individuals in southern
Wisconsin. In 1929, the State of Wisconsin government attempted to re-establish turkeys with a
stocking of game farm lineage. Nearly 3,000 birds were released over 11 years, but disease and
unregulated hunting doomed this effort to fail. Pennsylvania game farm turkeys were released in
central Wisconsin between 1954 and 1957. These 700 birds established a self sustaining
population that supported 3 very limited hunting seasons in the late 1960’s. An outbreak of
blackhead disease and severe winter weather greatly reduced this flock, although they are
thought to have persisted until being overtaken by the successful restoration of wild turkeys.

Wild trapped eastern wild turkeys from Missouri were released into the Badaxe Watershed in
Vernon County in 1976. The Wisconsin DNR traded ruffed grouse for 334 turkeys over the next
nine years. To accelerate turkey expansion throughout the Badger state, Wisconsin DNR trapped
and translocated turkeys to 49 counties. Spring and fall harvests annually exceed 39,000 and
11,000 respectively and provide exceptional hunting opportunity and economic benefit. Sales of
wild turkey stamps, required for hunting, exceed $300,000 annually and the money is earmarked
for wild turkey program management, research, and administration.

The primary reported problem with wild turkeys in Wisconsin is real and perceived crop
damage. Turkeys have been documented as the culprits in some expensive crop damage claims,
but at the same time are erroneously blamed in most instances due to their dirunal nature, large
size, and flocking habit.

                              NORTH DAKOTA
                           Wild Turkey Status Report
                                           Lowell Tripp

The entire state of North Dakota is located north of the historic ancestral range of wild turkeys in
North America. However, in 1951, the Missouri Slope Chapter of the Izaak Walton League
released four male wild turkeys (Eastern sub-species) along the Missouri River. This was the
beginning of a vigorous campaign by the League to establish the wild turkey in North Dakota.
During the next several years, the Izaak Walton League continued to purchase wild turkey eggs
and pen-reared adult birds from Pennsylvania and Maryland. By 1963, over 2000 Eastern wild
turkeys had been released in North Dakota. Through trapping and transplanting efforts by the
North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the Eastern sub-species of wild turkey has become
established throughout most of the state.
         In 1953, a release of eight Merriam sub-species was made in the Pine Forest area of
southwestern North Dakota. Since then, the Merriams have done well with their distribution
being confined to that area. During the mid-1950's a release of 31 wild-trapped Rio Grande wild
turkeys was conducted near Grassy Butte (west-central North Dakota) and also 22 Rio Grandes
were released along the Missouri River north of the town of Washburn. The Rio Grande releases
failed due to unsuitable habitat and North Dakota being to far north of their normal range.
         The first fall hunting season in North Dakota was held in 1958. Fall seasons have been
held since then with the exception of 1959, 1960 and 1966 with the long-term hunter success
averaging over 65 percent. Our first gobblers-only spring season was held in 1976. This was not
accepted very well by the landowners and was closed from 1977 through 1981. It was reopened
in 1982 and has remained open since that time. Our long-term hunter success for our spring
season is close to 55 percent.
         The major problem with wild turkeys in North Dakota is the availability of a dependable
winter food source. The birds depend a great deal upon waste grain and being able to forage in
crop fields during the winter months. During years of deep snowfall, the turkeys concentrate
near farmsteads where cattle feeding operations are located. This can create problems with the
private landowners.
         The North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues an annual trap/transplant
program moving wild turkeys around the state. Some areas that receive birds are selected by the
Game and Fish Department as having an excellent potential of supporting suitable wild turkey
populations in huntable numbers. Other areas receive transplants because of public request and
an indication that the local people would provide needed winter feed for the birds. In some cases
released wild turkeys are used to supplement existing populations that have dwindled. During
the past 50 years, wild turkey populations in North Dakota have become established along most
of the major river courses and associate woody habitats in the state. Even though North Dakota
is entirely north of the ancestral historic wild turkey range in the United States, we feel they will
exist and thrive here for years to come.

Table 1. North Dakota Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Seasons

                Number of      Number of        Number of    Number of     Percent
    Year        Applicants    Permits Issues     Hunters    Birds Bagged   Success
    1992          6402            3605            2938          1830        62.3
    1993          6030            3546            2735          1331        48.7
    1994          4330            3154            2578          1484        57.6
    1995          3862            3212            2608          1619        62.1
    1996          4348            3241            2595          1946        75.0
    1997          4717            3273            2695          1835        68.1
    1998          5218            3860            3141          2114        67.3
    1999          4977            4620            3941          2750        69.8
    2000          7665            6000            4690          3029        64.6
    2001          8119            6622            5224          3083        59.0

Table 2. North Dakota Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Seasons

                Number of      Number of        Number of    Number of     Percent
    Year        Applicants    Permits Issues     Hunters    Birds Bagged   Success
    1992          5673            1807            1605           696        43.4
    1993          4323            1500            1328           555        41.8
    1994          4243            1322            1174           581        49.5
    1995          4243            1322            1174           581        49.5
    1996          4509            1445            1277           641        50.2
    1997          4318            1528            1272           669        52.6
    1998          5316            1695            1484           924        62.3
    1999          6748            2075            1835          1173        63.9
    2000          7967            2534            2266          1421        62.7
    2001          8460            2925            2556          1449        56.7
    2002          9724            3310            2888          1679        58.1

                          Wild Turkey Status Report
                                         Don Kemner

       Idaho is north and west of wild turkey historic range. Turkeys were first transplanted to
Idaho in 1925 by citizens. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game began transplanting wild
turkeys in Idaho in 1961. Turkeys have been transplanted from within Idaho, and from 11 other
states and 2 provinces to over 200 release sites in Idaho. Northern and western Idaho provides
most of the turkey habitat in Idaho. Merriam's turkeys make up over 90 percent of the Idaho
turkey population.
       Winter creates some limitations for turkeys and complicates turkey management in Idaho.
Limitations are snow depth and lack of available natural winter foods. Complications include;
feeding of turkeys during the winter, depredations by turkeys on livestock feedlots, haystacks,
and crops. Trapping and transplanting turkeys, winter food plots, fall either sex hunts, and
depredation hunts are management tools used to address limitations and complications of turkeys
occurring during winter.
       The first hunting season was in 1967. Currently, there are spring and fall turkey hunting
seasons. In 2002, turkey hunters purchased 23,367 turkey tags (spring and fall hunts) and
harvested 5,115 turkeys. In 2002, turkeys harvested in the spring (n=3,607) and fall (n=1,508)
made up 71% and 29% of the total harvest respectively.

                          Wild Turkey Status Report
                                        Murray Gillespie

        The introduction and subsequent expansion of wild turkeys in Manitoba has been a major
success story, a direct result of the dreams and efforts of a few dedicated outdoorsmen. On
September 9, 1958, sixteen wild turkeys, purchased from a hatchery in Mandan, North Dakota,
were released near Miami, Manitoba by Wild Gobblers Unlimited. Additional purchases from
North Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as capture and propagation programs, saw many more
successful releases. The primary release area was southern Manitoba, close to the Canada/U.S.
border. This area of aspen/oak parkland with isolated forested regions, was considered the most
suitable habitat for the birds.
        By 1977, the population was believed to be large enough to allow a limited hunting
season. The spring season was a draw season and 402 applicants received licences. The harvest
during this inaugural season was 55 turkeys taken. The turkey population in Manitoba has been
able to sustain a spring season annually and it is estimated that the population today is in the
range of between 6,000 and 7,000 birds and extends from southeast Manitoba, through the
Pembina River Valley to the Saskatchewan border. At present, Manitoba provides ample
hunting opportunity by offering both a spring and fall hunting season to residents only. In 2002,
749 turkey licences were sold, up from 680 in 2001. Hunter success has not been determined
since 1999 when, 621 hunters bagged an estimated 422 turkeys, for a success rate of 68%. Forty
percent of this harvest occurred during the fall season. Despite this high success, the population
appears to growing and expanding its range.
        Because of Manitoba’s northern latitude, winter weather conditions can be severe. In
years of heavy snow, turkeys rely on local cattle feed lots or seed plants to find enough food to
survive. Turkeys do very well during winters like the current one (little snow) and, generally
find enough food in the wild to avoid moving into farmyards.
        With the expansion of the population have come some problems. In some locations,
birds have moved into urban areas, resulting in residents complaining about damage to flower
beds and gardens and the accumulation of dropping on decks, roof tops, sidewalks and children’s
play areas. As a result of these complaints, Wild Gobblers Unlimited, with assistance from
Manitoba Conservation, has undertaken a trapping program to capture and remove problem
birds. Birds captured are generally released away from urban centres in large blocks of
contiguous habitat. So far, this program has been successful by reducing complaints and
providing additional birds for hunters. During the winter of 2001/2002, fifty-five turkeys were
trapped and removed from within the City of Winnipeg.
        Manitoba is currently working with Wild Gobblers Unlimited to undertake a winter
census of the turkey population in southern Manitoba. This information will be used to assist
with future management efforts and to direct future hunting seasons. In addition, Manitoba will
introduce a Youth Wild Turkey Licence in 2003. This $5.00 licence will compliment the
existing Youth Hunting Licence Package, which allows a youth 12 to 17 years of age, to harvest
one deer as well as hunt upland game birds and waterfowl for a total cost of $10.00.

        Plans are currently underway to establish the first Manitoba Chapter of the National Wild
Turkey Federation. The NWTF has provided valuable assistance in organizing and initiated the
process for a new Chapter. Their help is greatly appreciated by those residents interested in the
future of this important game bird.

                                                                                                                Boreal Forest



                                        34A                                        Aspen Oak Parkland

                        30                                                                                      Mixed Forest



             28                         35A
                              31                                                           Tall Grass Prairie

                                                         Aspen Oak Parkland

      Range of Wild Turkeys in Southern Manitoba
                                                                   Eco-regions: Southern Manitoba

The following 3 papers were completed after the conference. Rick Horton had graciously agreed
to do a presentation at the last minute, when Ron Eckstein was unable to attend the conference.
James Earl Kennamer provides details from his summary following the Friday presentations.
Bill Healy provides a summary of the conference wrap-up session.

RICK HORTON, Forest Wildlife Biologist, Ruffed Grouse Society. P.O. Box 657, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, USA

     There is a common perception among the public that wild turkeys and ruffed grouse cannot co-exist.
Many people report that grouse populations decline as turkeys move into an area. There has been
speculation, and even eyewitness accounts (?) of turkeys killing grouse, eating grouse chicks and
destroying nests. Through the years I've learned that you never say never when the topic pertains to
wildlife, particularly to an eyewitness. Therefore, no matter how unlikely it seems, it is possible that
occasionally an opportunistic turkey may gobble up a hapless grouse chick. But, there is no empirical
evidence that turkeys systematically kill grouse or destroy nests to the degree necessary to negatively
effect the grouse population.
     The basis for this common perception is that wild turkey populations have in fact exploded across the
eastern U.S. over the past 30 years, while there has been a concurrent, and equally spectacular, decline in
ruffed grouse numbers. As is so often the case in declining wildlife populations, the root cause lies in
changing habitats. Ruffed grouse utilize dense young hardwood stands as escape cover to protect them
and their young from their many predators. Without this habitat they are much more vulnerable,
particularly to raptors. Turkeys, on the other hand, prefer more mature hardwoods, relying upon the many
eyes of the flock and their swift legs to avoid the few predators large enough to kill them. As public
acceptance of logging has decreased, much of the eastern forest has aged to the point that it no longer
provides optimum grouse habitat, but is perfect for turkeys. Turkeys have also responded well to trap and
transplant programs, which accelerated their already rapid population expansion.
     Grouse populations in southeast Minnesota in the 1970's rivaled those in the northern portion of the
state. But by the 1990's their numbers had declined to less than 1/3 of the peaks seen 20 years previously.
Something besides aging forests may have been at work to cause such a rapid decline in grouse
populations. Oak forests don't change fast enough to go from optimal habitat to poor habitat in 20-30
years. One speculation is that a change in predator numbers contributed to greatly reduced grouse
numbers. Raptor populations were still recovering from the ravages of DDT in the 1970's. Fur prices
were at an all-time high, with raccoons brining $35/pelt and fox as much as $75. Many rural sportsmen
were trapping or shooting furbearers to supplant their incomes. At that time fewer people lived in the
country and commuted to town. Rural development brought with it a new set of predators - free ranging
cats and dogs - that can wreak havoc on ground-nesting birds. The middle-aged oak forests of the 1970's
may have provided adequate escape cover for grouse given the relatively low predator numbers of the
time. But they could not sustain themselves in the face of the one-two punch of continuing forest
maturation and increasing predation.
     So if we accept that turkeys do not directly cause declines in grouse populations, what are the
concerns with northward expansion of the wild turkey range? One ecological concern is that turkeys may
compete with species that evolved in northern forests for resources that are spatially and temporally
limited - like hard and soft mast. For example, there is no shortage of hard mast in oak/hickory forest
types, so all species can meet their energy needs. However, oak trees are few and far between in the
northern landscape. When northern oaks drop their acorns deer, bears, grouse, squirrels and other
creatures compete for this energy-rich resource. They need it to build their fat reserves to survive long,
harsh winters. Every bear hunter in Minnesota knows how bruins will abandon a bait pile laced with

molasses and jelly doughnuts when the acorns start falling. By introducing turkeys into this landscape we
may be increasing the number of mouths at a limited dinner table.
    Another ecological concern is the effect this new herbivore may have on northern forest ecosystems.
Certainly man has altered this landscape by breaking up the forest in some places for agriculture. But
step 100 feet into the woods and you are deep in the northern forest again. We simply do not know if
turkeys will show a preference for some native plant, insect or fungus species to the extent that their
feeding patterns may impact its distribution and/or abundance.
    There are several potential social issues to consider as well. Turkeys may very well become
established in northern climes during periods of mild winters, much like we have experienced in
Minnesota from 1999 to 2002. The public would become accustomed to seeing these highly visible and
animated birds. When harsh winters return (and they will) we may see public pressure exerted on the
DNR to begin a winter turkey feeding program, similar to the one in place for deer. If the birds succumb
to the weather, there may be pressure to replace them with trapped and transplanted birds. These
demands would place further burdens on an agency perennially short of funding and manpower. In
addition, concern for turkeys may lead to public resistance to limit recreational wildlife feeding, a
condition which could exacerbate the potential spread of wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease.
    Aspen forests are not typically considered good habitat for turkeys. Aspen is typically managed in
short rotation periods by even-aged management due to its short lifespan and shade intolerant nature.
However, these forests provide the very best habitat for ruffed grouse, woodcock and a host of other
animals that evolved with this forest type. Ruffed grouse are the single most abundant game bird in
Minnesota, with annual harvests over 1.25 million during cyclic population highs. This is primarily
because over 50% of the aspen in the eastern deciduous forest is found in the state. An active forest
products industry helps regenerate the aspen, creating young forest habitat for grouse and woodcock. We
will never have ducks like North Dakota, pheasants like South Dakota or turkeys like Missouri. But
thanks to our aspen resources, what we have that other states wish for is an abundance of grouse.
    Unfortunately our ability to maintain this situation is eroding. The timber industry is reeling under
global competition. Clearcut logging to regenerate aspen is increasingly unpopular with urban citizens.
Litigation over logging practices is limiting our ability to maintain aspen forests. Public support for
active aspen forest management could be further jeopardized by an increased desire for turkeys. While
turkeys use clearcuts, landings and trails for nesting, displaying and brood-rearing, the general public
typically associates them with mature, closed-canopy oak/hickory forests. Pressure to maintain a northern
flock may lead to a call from sportsmen to create more of this type, and further erode land managers'
ability to maintain abundant young aspen forest.
    In summary, turkeys and grouse can successfully co-exist where their ranges overlap, so long as
ample forest habitat exists for both species. However, as turkeys move deeper into core grouse range we
are entering into uncharted territory regarding their ecological and social impacts. Ruffed grouse and
wild turkeys provide endless hours of sport hunting enjoyment and resource managers need to work to
ensure that this continues to be the case.

JAMES EARL KENNAMER, National Wild Turkey Federation, PO Box 530, Edgefield, SC 29824

    We need to be careful using the words “non-native” or “exotic” for wild turkeys outside of
their ancestral range, because the purist philosophy of conservation biologists, environmentalists
and others will use this approach to limit wild turkey range expansion. The fact is, people have
altered vegetation and habitats dramatically in the last century. (Compiler's note: Kennamer
also noted that ancestral range maps for wild turkeys were best guess approximations of wild
turkey range at one point in time and do not always accurately represent either the past northern
limit or today's potential northern range of wild turkeys in North America.)
    We have told hunters and the general public over and over that wild turkeys can’t survive in
the harsh climates; today we are hunting thriving populations in those areas. We continue to
underestimate the wild turkey’s ability to survive to the point the public may question wildlife
managers' opinions on where wild turkeys can't survive. The only way to know is to put turkeys
in those habitats and see what happens. Some of the public will turn birds loose, regardless of
regulations and laws prohibiting game farm releases, if we don’t provide suitable wild stock for
    Our research efforts in the future will need to address broader issues than we have in the past,
i.e. multi-species concerns, relationships with habitat management, landscape issues from
urbanization to harvest strategies, public perception issues (such as crop depredation), as well as
economic benefits to local communities.
    Haven’t we heard over and over about corn food plots to enhance survival of wild turkeys in
northern climates with little mention of long-term solutions like plantings of mast-producing
shrubs and trees? Something is missing when we only think of the short-term benefits.
    We need to promote benefits of wild turkeys and hunting to more than just the sportsman,
because the largest portion of the public doesn’t hunt. The benefit of hunting, supporting local
communities and our hunting heritage is central to the way our country was founded. This is one
of the reasons our media releases near Chicago and New York last Thanksgiving were so
important. We targeted a new and very receptive audience.
    We must also address how many is enough, so we don’t have turkeys become a negative like
we have seen with Canadian geese. I also personally believe that if we have to winter feed wild
turkeys artificially so they are able to persist because of climate or habitat problems, then wild
turkeys don’t need to be introduced into those areas.
    Biologists are trained to evaluate complex relationships, and too often we confuse the public
with complicated answers to more simple solutions. The public depends on us to provide
wildlife opportunities, both for viewing and hunting. Too often we try to figure out how not to
do what the public is asking, instead of taking a more positive approach.

WILLIAM M. HEALY, Owl Run Farm, P.O. Box 187, Smithville, WV, 26178, USA

    The following summarizes what I saw as key concepts emerging from the workshop and
    Throughout 4 decades of wild turkey restoration the bird has proven more adaptable and
flexible in its habitat requirements than most of us ever imagined. Turkeys have repeatedly
embarrassed the "experts" by thriving in areas that we thought were uninhabitable. Our
collective understanding of turkey habitat has grown as restoration has progressed, and today
there is still uncertainty about the northern limits of range.
    In 2003, the northern limit of wild turkey range is associated with human activity, farming
and feeding wildlife. Cold temperatures by themselves do not limit wild turkey distribution, and
a hand full of corn per day is enough to maintain a turkey over winter. As long as people are
willing to feed turkeys, there probably is no environmentally imposed northern range limit.
    To feed or not to feed -- that is a value judgment. I felt there was a consensus among the
managers that food plots were acceptable and useful, but that feeders were unacceptable. Chronic
wasting disease in white-tailed deer is changing the rules and regulations concerning feeding and
baiting. Backyard bird feeding complicates the issue. Bird feeding is popular and widespread,
and clearly benefits northern turkey populations. The National Wild Turkey Federation and the
states have sound policies regarding agency-feeding programs, but this issue will not go away. It
seems to be human nature to want to help cold and hungry critters.
    Moving turkeys beyond their "historic range limits" has become an issue because biological
invasions by alien species are a major threat to North American ecosystems. There is some
concern that turkeys moved into new habitats may become pests or add additional stress to
already fragile ecosystems. Schoger is generally taken as the authority on past distribution
(Schorger, A. W. 1966. The Wild Turkey, Its History and Domestication. Univ. Oklahoma Press,
Norman. See Fig. 1, Pg 43). The issue of "historic range" is part of a larger dilemma facing
ecologists, namely, how does one establish ecological baselines in a changing environment?
Biologists in Ontario have addressed the issue with the concept of "continuous suitable habitat."
Potential release sites are evaluated on the basis of existing conditions and the connectivity to
occupied habitat. That approach makes great sense to me.
    The risk of turkeys becoming pests of forestry or agriculture seems slight. Wild turkeys have
been present in the Canadian life zones in the mountains of West Virginia and in northern and
transitional hardwoods throughout the Appalachians for thousands of years, where they have
interacted with most of the species found along the northern tier states and provinces. If turkeys
were going to become pests they probably would have done so long ago in the agricultural
landscape of the Midwest or in western forests.
    Gary Drotts and Bill Porter reminded us of the importance of taking a landscape view of
turkey habitat and ecology. New technology allows us to look at habitat across states and
regions. Gary recommended the of ecological land classification systems for defining the habitat
for all wildlife species. The use of ecological land types provides a common language and
mapping system for all natural resource professionals. Bill gave us a hint of what landscape
level analysis may hold for our understanding of the distribution, abundance, and ecology of wild

                                                List of Attendees
Full Name          Organization                                     E-mail address
Al Stewart         Michigan Department of Natural Resources-
                   Wildlife Division
Andrew Timmins     New Hampshire Fish and Game Department 
Beaulin Liddell    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Bill Healy                                                
Bill Porter        SUNY-ESF                               
Bryan Burhans      National Wild Turkey Federation
Bryan Lueth        Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Chad Lehman        South Dakota State University          
Curt Vacek         Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dale Kane          St. Cloud State University             
Dan Thompson       South Dakota State University          
Dave Johnson       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dave Neu           National Wild Turkey Federation        
Dave Pauly         Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
David Dickey       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dean Potter        National Wild Turkey Federation-Minnesota
Dean Van Doren
Diana Regenscheid Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dick Bergh         National Wild Turkey Federation-Minnesota
Don Kemner         Idaho Department of Fish and Game      
Doug Blodgett      Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department   
Doug Hedtke        Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Doug Welinski      Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Ed Hanson          National Wild Turkey Federation-Minnesota
Fred Bengtson      Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Gary Nelson        Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Gene Groebner      National Wild Turkey Federation
George Klemolin    University of Wisconsin                
J. Bruce Pollard   Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources  
Jack Heather       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
James Earl         National Wild Turkey Federation        
Jay Crenshaw       Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Jeff Bowman        Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources  
Joe Hamr           Cambrian College                       
Joel Pedersen      National Wild Turkey Federation
John Giudice       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Jon Rachael        Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Kari Dingman       Minnesota State University-Mankato     
Katie Geray        Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Keith Warnke       Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Kurt Haroldson     Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Kevin Fuerstneau   National Wild Turkey Federation        
Lee Kessler        Red Oak Consulting
Lester Flake       South Dakota State University
Linh Nguyen        Trent University                       
Lloyd Knudson      Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Lowell Tripp       North Dakota Game and Fish Department  
Marco Restani      St. Cloud State University             
Mark Spoden        Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Mark Strand        Independent Journalist                 
Murray Gillespie   Manitoba Conservation
Natasha Gruber     Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Nick Gulden        Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Patrick Hubert     Illinois Natural History Survey        
Pete Pekins        University of New Hampshire            
Peter David        Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Community
Ralph Koelln
Richard Kimmel     Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Richard Staffon    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Rick Horton        Ruffed Grouse Society                  
Rob Keck           National Wild Turkey Federation
Robert Abernethy   National Wild Turkey Federation
Robert Dettmer     National Wild Turkey Federation
Robert Eriksen     National Wild Turkey Federation
Roger Strand       Minnesota Press
Ron Eckstein       Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Ron Schara         Ron Schara Enterprises
Thomas Hughes      National Wild Turkey Federation
Tim Koppelman      Gustavus Adolphus College

Tim Marion       Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Tod Tonsager     Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Todd Gosselink   Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Tom Carpenter    Independent Journalist
Tom Glines       National Wild Turkey Federation   
Tonya Klinkner   Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Wendy Krueger    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources


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