|New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife|
January 16, 2002
On Saturday, January 5, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife trapped 11 wild turkey hens in Fredon Township, Sussex County and released them in the Division's Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area in Ocean County. The trap and transfer efforts are being undertaken to help build wild turkey populations in Pinelands habitat where controlled burns and special plantings have made the area a prime location for the species.
"The Division would like to thank the New Jersey Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for its assistance in providing funding and volunteer help with the Division's Turkey Transfer Program," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Through these cooperative efforts, wild turkeys can be found in 20 of New Jersey's 21 counties."
Controlled burns in places like the Pinelands help clear away thick understory vegetation so wild turkeys can see predators and move more easily and plantings of various grasses, clover and sunflowers provide good food and brood habitat. Several additional releases are planned over the next few months for Ocean and Cape May counties.
The Division's Turkey Restoration Project represents one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in the history of the state. In the mid-1800s, turkeys had disappeared in New Jersey due to habitat changes and over-exploitation. However, in 1977 biologists released turkeys captured in other states and as the population grew, began to live-trap and re-locate birds. To date, more than 1,500 birds have been trapped and relocated, resulting in a stable population of wild turkeys throughout most of the state. Even in South Jersey where wild turkeys had been struggling just a few years ago, intensive restoration efforts have improved population numbers significantly.
For more information on turkeys and turkey hunting in the Garden State, visit the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com.