When I was a child on the shore of Kootenay Lake, there were no Wild Turkeys to be seen.
Returning to the lakeshore in retirement, I was surprised to see a few. Since that time, the proliferation of turkeys is probably satisfying only to coyotes.
Why are they here? Apparently they were introduced in the states of Washington and Idaho as a way to satisfy hunters. Sigh….
A Washington website states: “wild turkeys … were introduced to Washington beginning in the early twentieth century.” These turkeys apparently did not head north. However, an Idaho website tells us that: “Wild turkey populations have taken off in Idaho since Idaho Fish and Game first introduced them in the 1960s.” It is a portion of this plantation that seems to have sought refuge around Kootenay Lake, for a few were apparently seen around Salmo later in that decade.
However, the purpose of this posting is merely to record a milestone in our history of the Wild Turkey. By an accident of the preservation of ephemera, I have a page from the BC Naturalist from the Spring of 1987 (Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 6) that notes: “West Kootenay Naturalists were excited to find two WILD TURKEYS near Nelson on 27 December.”
This event, over thirty years ago, was an early stage in our turkey infestation, all apparently a consequence of Idaho’s introduction.