Restoring the Wild Turkey Population

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, October 5, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Source: Milton Evening Standard (September 21, 1914)
Source: Milton Evening Standard (September 21, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma’s diary is not helping me come up with a topic for today’s post, I’m going to go off on another tangent–

Yesterday, I shared an article from 1914 which indicated (much to my surprise) that women could get hunting licenses a hundred years ago. Today, I’m sharing another 1914 article from the Milton (PA) Evening Standard that also touched on hunting—and the effects of over-hunting in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

It’s good to know that the wild turkey population was increasing, and that the state of Pennsylvania had passed laws which supported wildlife restoration—but it’s somewhat alarming that turkeys apparently were endangered in Pennsylvania and other states in the early 1900s. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency:

1840—Wild turkey “virtually eliminated” from New York

1881— Wild turkey gone from Wisconsin

1900— Wild turkey gone from Iowa

1900—Wild turkey “nearly silenced “ in Georgia

1900— Wild turkey gone from North Carolina

1910— Wild turkey gone from 2/3s of Virginia

1920 —18 of 39 state had lost their wild turkey population

An aside—I saw several turkeys on my way into work on Friday. Thank goodness the people who lived a hundred years ago worked to restore the wild turkey population so that we can enjoy them now.


13 thoughts on “Restoring the Wild Turkey Population

  1. Beautiful pic of the wild turkey!! I hope no animals become extinct! That would make nature unbalanced! That is so sad to read all those states that no longer had Wild Turkey’s! Happy Sunday! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  2. Never knew wild turkeys would come that close to a building – great photo…was going to say shot but that seemed inappropriate! Have seen large groups of them this year in the countryside.

  3. Interesting about the turkeys. I read some more about them in Iowa here.
    By 1920, about 250,000 eastern wild turkeys existed in the US. They roamed only 12% of their former range. In Iowa…
    “…an aggressive restoration program using wild trapped turkeys from Missouri and Shimek State Forest (Lee County) and Stephens State Forest (Lucas County), resulted in transplanting 3,523 Eastern wild turkeys to 86 different counties at 260 sites between 1965 and 2001. Turkeys from southern Iowa were originally introduced from Missouri in the mid 1960’s. This restoration program was paid for by the Iowa sportsman through revenues from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and an excise tax on the sale of arms and ammunition. The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) also aided Iowa in the restoration efforts.

    Eastern turkeys adapted so well to habitat conditions in Iowa that by 1980 the DNR decided to start trading turkeys for other extirpated wildlife. From 1980-2001, 7,501 Iowa turkeys have been traded for 356 prairie chickens, 596 ruffed grouse, over 180 river otters, over 80 sharp-tailed grouse, and over 3.2 million dollars to purchase Iowa habitat with 11 states and 1 Canadian province.”

  4. There’s just something about seeing a wild turkey that makes me happy.
    Thanks for the history lessons you offer us, Sheryl. I really do enjoy your posts!

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