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Sun, Feb

Return of the Native Wild Turkey—Setting Sustainable Harvest Targets When Information is Limited

Typography

As American families sit down for the traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving, some will be giving thanks for a wild bird that is truly free range. Meleagris gallopavo, the wild turkey, has steadily gained in popularity with hunters since successful restoration efforts put it back on the table in the around the new millenium, bucking the trend of declining participation in hunting throughout the United States. The distinguished native bird is now second in popularity only to white tailed deer.

As American families sit down for the traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving, some will be giving thanks for a wild bird that is truly free range. Meleagris gallopavo, the wild turkey, has steadily gained in popularity with hunters since successful restoration efforts put it back on the table in the around the new millenium, bucking the trend of declining participation in hunting throughout the United States. The distinguished native bird is now second in popularity only to white tailed deer.

The recovery of the wild turkey is a great restoration success story. But concerns have been rising over the specter of declines in some areas. Lack of reliable tools to estimate abundance of turkeys has increased uncertainty for managers. So wildlife researchers at Michigan State University investigated how to harvest wild turkeys sustainably when information is imperfect.

“As we dug into the turkey data, we realized this was a worldwide problem. How do we decide how to set management policies for sustainable harvests of wildlife when we don’t have knowledge about abundance?” said Stevens, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Idaho, who led the study as part of his dissertation work at Michigan State.

Read more at Ecological Society of America

Photo Credit: Dimus via Wikimedia Commons