The wild turkey has been a staple of American tradition since the 1500s, but its survival has not always been certain.
- •Native only to North and Central America, the wild turkey was discovered by Europeans in Mexico in the early 1500s.
- •By the 1930s, the wild turkey population was at less than 30,000 birds; a victim of market hunting, subsistence hunting and widespread habitat destruction.
- •Over the next 50 years, state wildlife agencies funded by hunters’ dollars and working with the National Wild Turkey Federation, captured more than 200,000 wild turkeys and released them in quality wild turkey habitat.
- •Today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys roaming the woodlands and river-bottoms across the country.
To learn more about conserving habitat for turkeys and other species of wildlife visit these sites:
I urge anyone who loves MeatEater–or, for that matter, anyone who loves hunting and fishing and eating wild game–to hurry over and check out the first of our Conservation Field Notes videos. We are making these videos in conjunction with the non-profit Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, which received vital sponsorship backing from Bass Pro Shops. The reason that the MeatEater team chose to work with TRCP is summed up nicely by that organization’s rallying cry: Guaranteeing You a Place to Hunt and Fish. We love them for it, and because they wage a nonstop battle for wild lands conservation, day-in and day-out. What’s more, they’re not afraid to take unpopular stances when they know it’s the right thing to do for hunters and anglers. The aim of these Conservation Field Notes is simple: to alert you about specific issues that are imminent threats to our hunting and fishing lands, and to tell you how to join in the battle. So please, get your little butts over to http://www.trcp.org/community/conservation-field-notes. You owe it to yourself and to your kids. –Steven Rinella