Archive for November 18th, 2016

TPW TV – Gobblers Go East

Friday, November 18th, 2016
Turkey release.

Eastern wild turkey release at Gus Engeling WMA 02-05-2014

This is Passport to Texas

A group of 31 eastern wild turkeys recently released in the Angelina National Forest may not be from Texas, but they got here as fast as they could. Wildlife biologist, Jason Hardin.

Any of these birds that come into Texas from out of state, we draw blood for disease testing. We’ve been really lucky—we’ve had really healthy birds coming in. In addition to that, the University of Georgia is doing DNA on all these birds.

Each bird got banded with its own ID number, and joined a four-decades-long restocking effort.

Turkeys were historically found throughout close to 30-million acres in east Texas. So, this is part of their historic range. Around the turn of the 20th Century, we lost birds due to over harvest—primarily—European settlers coming into Texas. There were no regulations to stop them from harvesting those animals. And no law enforcement out there to enforce the few regulations that we did have.

With the last batch of 31, Texas Parks and Wildlife has introduced about 80 birds to the site. Now they’ll monitor their habitat use to determine their preferences, and to ensure their future.

From what we can tell, the birds appear to be doing pretty well. We have some of our highest populations of turkeys in east Texas on that site. So, we know that it can be very successful.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS airs a segment called Gobblers Go East the week of November 20, where you can see the rest of the story. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.