TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The South Hills wild turkey population has seen a decline in recent years. Now, turkeys are being relocated from the Pocatello area in an effort to replenish the population.
“Hens with baby chicks… we’re not seeing as many as we think we should, so this year we reduced the turkey tag allocation from 90 tags down to 30,” said Brandon Tycz, Magic Valley Regional Habitat Biologist for Idaho Fish and Game.
Idaho Fish and Game is working to relocate turkeys with the National Wild Turkey Federation.
“We plan to replenish a flock of turkeys that have been kind of isolated for about the last 20 years. They haven’t had a lot of genetic diversity, so putting those turkeys in the area, we’re hoping it’ll bolster up the flock a little bit,” said Joe Foster, State Chapter President for the National Wild Turkey Federation
By adding 36 turkeys in February, the hope is to eventually increase outdoor recreational opportunities in the Magic Valley.
“It’ll be used both for people who want to go bird watching all the way up to people that want to hunt. The hunting season is relatively limited in the Twin Falls area right now, but eventually we would hope that the [turkey] population will grow to a point where it would be a general hunt,” said Foster
Hunting opportunities are contingent on the success of nests over the next two to three years, which will determine how quickly the population increases, according to Tycz.
“If we do see a dramatic increase in turkey numbers then we will probably, eventually increase tag allocations if the population is suitable for that,” said Tycz.
As the only wild turkey population currently in the Magic Valley, keeping numbers up would increase opportunities for local hunters who would otherwise have to travel hours.
The relocated turkeys are being monitored to track population growth.