While hunters across Idaho prepare for the upcoming wild turkey season this spring, Fish and Game managers are looking further ahead, in hopes of providing more hunting opportunity for the wily birds.
Upland game managers recently relocated an additional 66 wild turkeys from the Preston area in southeast Idaho to Lemhi County in the Salmon Region. The birds were released in the Carmen and Tower Creek areas, just north of Salmon.
This is the second consecutive year wild turkeys have been released in this area, with 63 relocated last winter from the same source. Additional turkeys from southwest Idaho may be released in the same drainages later this week, contingent on trapping conditions.
In addition to relocating turkeys, several habitat improvement projects have been completed on private lands in the area, thanks to the cooperative efforts involving the National Wild Turkey Foundation, National Resource Conservation Service, Fish and Game, local landowners and sportsmen. The goal is to provide a viable population of wild turkeys that will not become a nuisance to landowners. Managers are confident the population will grow quickly, if the habitat will support them through the winter months.
Both Carmen and Tower creeks contain some of the healthiest riparian habitat adjacent to Ponderosa pine trees in Lemhi County.
Managers will track a good number of the birds using radio collars. This will allow them to keep tabs on nest success and survival, seasonal habitat use, and population growth. Information from the collars will also be used to help prevent conflicts with local landowners, focus future habitat projects, and confirm existing habitat improvements are working.