Geoff: Welcome back to KSL Outdoors. We’re here in the Book Cliffs, where the Division of Wildlife Resources, along with a couple sportsmen’s groups, is about to add some new birds to Utah’s turkey population. And what you’re about to see, is quite a sight.
KEVIN RICHENS/UINTAH BASIN CHAPTER, NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: THAT’S PROBABLY THE CLOSEST I’VE BEEN TO A TURKEY.
After two days in captivity, 30 wild turkeys got their first chance to spread their wings in their new Uintah County home.
RON STEWART/OUTREACH MANAGER, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES: WE PICKED UP 118 BIRDS AND BROUGHT THEM BACK IN FROM THE BLACK HILLS, SOUTH DAKOTA, AND THEY’VE BEEN RELEASED IN FOUR SITES.
RON STEWART/OUTREACH MANAGER, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES: WHITEROCKS CANYON, AVINTAQUIN CANYON AND THEN DOWN TO JOE’S VALLEY AND THEN WE BROUGHT THEM DOWN HERE TO THE BOOK CLIFFS.
The birds are all Merriam’s turkeys, which differ from the Rio Grande turkey that’s commonly found in Utah.
ALEX HANSEN/BIOLOGIST, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES: THE BASIC DIFFERENCE IS THE TAIL FEATHERS ARE A LITTLE BIT LIGHTER COLORATION. SO A LITTLE BIT OF COLORATION DIFFERENCE AND FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND THEY’RE A LITTLE BIT HEARTIER SO THEY CAN TAKE SOME OF THESE HARDER WINTERS.
Two sportsmen’s groups are working with the DWR to ensure the newcomers have plenty to eat while they get adjusted to winter in Utah.
ALEX HANSEN/BIOLOGIST, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES: WE BROUGHT OUT SOME FOOD, ACTUALLY SOME CORN AND OATS THAT WAS PROVIDED BY SPORTSMAN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE, AND ALSO WE GOT SOME DONATIONS FOR FOOD FROM THE WILD TURKEY
ALEX HANSEN/BIOLOGIST, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES: WE’VE GOT SOME VOLUNTEERS FROM THE ORGANIZATIONS TO COME OUT AND MAINTAIN THE LEVELS OF THE FEED AND MAKE SURE WE CAN GET THESE BIRDS UP AND GOING.
RON STEWART/OUTREACH MANAGER, DWR: BACK IN THE FIFTIES INITIALLY IS WHEN OUR FIRST ONES WERE SUCCESSFUL AND THEN WITH THE HELP OF THE SPORTSMEN’S CLUBS, THEY REALLY PICKED UP IN THE EARLY NINETIES AND THEY’VE JUST BEEN EXPLODING EVER SINCE.
Sportsmen like Kevin Richens switched to hunting turkeys after Utah’s pheasant population began to decline.
KEVIN RICHENS/UINTAH BASIN CHAPTER, NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: I STARTED HUNTING THEM SIX OR SEVEN YEARS AGO.
THEY’VE GOT SOME OF THE BEST EYES THAT I’VE SEEN. YOU KNOW, YOU MAKE ONE LITTLE TWITCH FROM A COUPLE HUNDRED YARDS AND THEY’LL SEE YA AND SPOOK, SO THEY’RE A REAL CHALLENGE TO HUNT.
Richens is dedicated to helping the turkey population grow, and is already passing on his passion for the outdoors to his daughters.
KEVIN RICHENS/UINTAH BASIN CHAPTER, NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: MY OLDEST DAUGHTER, SHE’S THIRTEEN, SHE KILLED A TURKEY A COUPLE YEARS AGO. WE TOOK HER OUT AND SHE WAS ABLE TO GET IN ON A REAL NICE TOM.
KEVIN RICHENS/UINTAH BASIN CHAPTER, NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: I THINK ANYTIME WE CAN GET MORE BIRDS IN THE STATE, THE BETTER WE’RE GOING TO BE. YOU KNOW, FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. TO GET THE KIDS INVOLVED AND TO MAKE SURE THERE’S SOMETHING FOR THEM WHEN THEY GROW UP AND WANT TO HUNT THEM.
Geoff: You think you’ll come back out here and look for some these you released?
DENNIS JENSEN/SPORTSMAN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE: I MIGHT, I DON’T KNOW. A MERRIAM’S TURKEY’S A PRETTY, PRETTY GOOD TURKEY
Geoff: Well as you can see, all the birds are out of the boxes, so let’s take a look at another species in the state with tonight’s Utah Field Guide.