Utah Field Guide: Turkey

With Thanksgiving just five days away, we thought it appropriate to highlight the main course for most, the turkey. Did you know, turkey may not have even been on the menu for the Pilgrims and Native Americans back in 1621.

While no records exist of the exact table fare, we do know that the pilgram governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the three-day event. Wild turkey was indeed plentiful in the region and a common food source for both English settlers and Native Americans. But it is just as likely that the fowling party returned with other birds we know the colonists regularly consumed, such as ducks, geese and swans.

Utah is home to two sub-species of wild turkey, the Merriam’s and the Rio Grande.

Wild turkeys are not known to have existed in Utah during early white settlement. However, historical evidence suggests that wild turkeys co-existed with Native Americans in Utah.

Those wanting to hunt turkeys during Utah’s limited entry spring hunt can apply on-line, Dec. 3-23.

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