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Michigan's wild turkey population is seeing a resurgence

Posted at 6:31 AM, Nov 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-24 06:31:48-05

For the first time in years, Michigan's wild turkey population is seeing a resurgence.

At one point, an estimated 50,000-100,000 turkeys flocked in the Lower Peninsula, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said.

But they were all wiped out in the early 1900s by hunters and the lumber industry.

For decades, turkeys were absent from Michigan's woodlands, but in the 1950s, the DNR brought 50 birds from Pennsylvania to a patch of land in present-day Allegan State Game Area.

The birds adapted to their habitat and the DNR eventually redistributed them across the state.

Adam Bump, an upland game bird specialist for the Michigan DNR, said.

"Maintaining habitat, knowing what good habitat really was figuring out the way to introduce them, where to introduce them, and then having regulated harvest to make sure that we're putting the sustainability of the populations first and harvest second," Adam Bump, an upland game bird specialist for the Michigan DNR, said.

Wild turkeys can now be found in every county in the Lower Peninsula as well as parts of the UP.

The DNR has counted a total of 200,000 wild turkeys in Michigan.