When we think about the wild turkey, it is easy to only think about it as the greatest game species to chase around the woods (in our humble opinion), but have you ever taken the time to think how American, quite literally and symbolically, the wild turkey is? In celebration of July 4th, here are some fun parallels between the greatest country and the greatest bird.
Like the red, white and blue on the American Flag, the wild turkey’s head changes color from red, white to blue depending on its mood. Sometimes all three are visible at once. Click here for more information about the wild turkey’s unique color changing ability.
Wild turkeys are not only sought after by hunters in America today, they were beloved by the first Americans – the indigenous people of this land. Native Americans utilized their wild turkeys to the fullest, making tools out of wing bones, using feathers for a variety of uses and using wild turkey meat for nourishment and more.
The wild turkey is an icon for American conservation in that it reminds us of what can happen when we take too much without giving back. Like many game species, prior to the introduction of game laws and hunting regulations, the wild turkey was not thriving to say the least. The leaps and bounds wild turkey have made since those historic lows is a sobering reminder of how important it is to steward these natural resources endowed to us as Americans.
Another a great American trait about wild turkeys is that when you improve habitat for it, you are also improving habitat for many other native (or in this case, American) species. Pollinators, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, quail, woodpeckers and many more –benefit from the forest improvements the NWTF targets for wild turkeys.
It is safe to say that hunting is an intrinsic part of America’s history; these forests and natural resources are owned by all of us as citizens, and we must treat them with respect for future generations. Unbeknownst to it, the wild turkey is preserving this way of life for future generations that is so fundamentally American. By supporting the NWTF, buying a wild turkey license and buying firearms and ammunition to hunt wild turkeys, you are, in turn, contributing funds that will be used in some capacity to recruit, retain and reactivate new hunters throughout the country.