Upland game managers recently moved 61 wild turkeys from the Preston area in the Southeast Region to Lemhi County in the Salmon Region. They released 15 toms and 46 hens around Carmen Creek, just north of Salmon.
"We want to see if we can establish a viable population in Lemhi County that is not dependent on supplemental feeding," said Regional Wildlife Manager Greg Painter.
In cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the National Resource Conservation Service and local sportsmen, Fish and Game is working to improve habitat for turkeys and other upland game in the area. The goal is to provide a viable population of wild turkeys that will not become a nuisance to landowners. While 61 birds may not sound like many, managers are confident the population will grow quickly, if the habitat will support them through the winter. In fact, there is a good chance hunters will have an opportunity to bag a turkey in Lemhi County by the spring season of 2016.
"If they can make it through the cold months, we could have as many turkeys as we can handle in three to four years," said Painter. "We are going to stay on top of depredation. Wild turkeys can quickly become a problem for landowners, and we are going to make sure that doesn't happen in Lemhi County."
Managers will track a good number of the birds using radio collars. This will allow them to keep tabs on population growth, prevent conflicts with local landowners and confirm that habitat improvements are working.
To learn more about wild turkeys in Idaho, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=131