Thanksgiving wild turkeys released near Houston
Bursting from specially-designed cardboard transport boxes, two wild turkeys flew into nearby woods in front of captivated onlookers during a symbolic and educational Thanksgiving wild turkey release near Houston, Texas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a Thanksgiving wild turkey release Thursday, November 20, at the Brown Ranch in Fort Bend County, Texas.
Two classes of 5th graders from Manford William Elementary School attended the wild turkey release. The birds were trapped in and transported from Massachusetts. The ceremonial event provided students the opportunity to experience a wild turkey biology demonstration and to learn about the history of the wild turkey and the vital role hunters play in wildlife management efforts.
"The eastern wild turkey had almost disappeared from our state by the early 1900s. As a result of our recent restoration efforts, better law enforcement and compliance and cooperative conservation efforts by private landowners, today the bird is so abundant we are able to allow spring turkey hunting in 42 East Texas counties," said Robert L. Cook, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "That's a remarkable comeback, and it would not have happened without the support of turkey hunters and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Revenue from turkey stamp sales, plus funding and assistance from the NWTF, have made restoration of turkey populations possible throughout much of the United States."
The release was an educational opportunity for everyone to learn more about wild turkey restoration and the importance of conservation and the hunting heritage during a time when many people are thinking about turkeys.
"This release was a monumental event. I can remember back in 1987 when we (the NWTF) partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to release eastern wild turkeys from Georgia in the first interstate turkey release," said Rob Keck, NWTF CEO. "Through the efforts of conservation-minded American sportsmen, there are more than 6 million wild turkeys throughout North America today. That's proof that sportsmen are the original conservationists."
Since the late 1980s, more than 13,000 turkeys have been shipped within and across state lines.
"We hope this release today will teach our children about the wild turkey and the importance of conserving our wildlife resources, and passing along our hunting traditions," said James Earl Kennamer, NWTF Senior Vice President of Conservation Programs.
According to Keck, many people don't seem to realize how much influence the wild turkey has had in America. It fed the pioneers during our quest to become a nation, and continues to feed many today through the millions of dollars spent by turkey hunters each spring and fall on everything from food, firearms, guides, trucks, gasoline, lodging and more.
"We thank everyone who attended the turkey release and took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about this grand symbol of Thanksgiving," Keck said.
For more information about the NWTF or the turkey release, visit the website at www.nwtf.org or call 1-800-THE-NWTF.
For information about the TPWD, call 512-389-4557.