Wyoming History Of Wild Turkey Hunting

Nov 25, 2020

Adult male wild turkey
Credit Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild turkey hunting didn't start in the state until 1955.

But the process began in 1935, when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department traded sage grouse with New Mexico for 15 Merriam's Turkeys. There were nine hens and six toms.

The turkeys were released in Platte County, and they thrived in the Laramie Mountains. Game and Fish estimates there were over one thousand after more than 10 years after the initial introduction.

Sara DiRienzo, Wyoming Game and Fish public information officer, said since the mid 1950s, turkey hunting has become a popular pastime for fall and spring, especially in the Black Hills.

"That habitat and combining with some of the population from the Black Hills in South Dakota, it's just one of the best places to head for turkey hunting," said DiRienzo.

She said hunters do like harvesting for Thanksgiving, even though the birds are leaner than the typical grocery store turkey.

"Wild turkeys are a lot different than domestic birds in flavor and also the memories that it brings to the Thanksgiving table," said DiRienzo. "So if people are lucky enough to enjoy a wild turkey on Thanksgiving, it just adds a little something special to the holiday."

Last year, close to 2,000 wild turkeys were on thanksgiving tables in the state.