Wild Turkey presence


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.


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3 Responses to Wild Turkey presence

  1. birthe says:

    Yes, Alistair – I had only seen wild turkeys on the East Shore and then one single female started walking the roads at 9 mile. She was by herself for about 2 years, but when I left about 6 years later I counted 17 turkeys on my front lawn. They do make a mess.

  2. Irene McIlwaine says:

    and in their mating rituals very noisy Birthe. Thanks Alistair for fine photo.

  3. Alistair says:

    Bill Merilees wrote to tell me that there were releases of Wild Turkeys by the Washington State Department of Game 10 miles south of Kettle Falls in 1962 and these then spread into the West Kootenay by 1967.

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