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Utah Field Guide: Wild turkey



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Utah is home to two sub-species of wild turkey, the Merriam's and the Rio Grande. The wild turkey is the largest of Utah's game birds and is considered by many as the "trophy " species of upland game.

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. Merriam's turkeys were transplanted into Grand County back in 1952. The Rio Grande was introduced into Utah in 1984. Both species have thrived and now Utah holds both limited entry and general season hunting for turkeys.

Typical habitat for the Merriam's turkey is open stands of ponderosa pine interspersed with aspen, grass meadows, and oak grading into pinyon pine and juniper.

The Rio Grande Turkey prefers cottonwood river bottoms associated with oak-pine and pinyon-juniper forests.

The DWR'S turkey management is no doubt a success, as you can now find turkeys in almost every county in the state.

Don't forget you still have until December 27th to get your limited entry turkey application submitted for this springs hunts. To apply visit the DWR's website at wildlife.utah.gov and for more information on the wild turkey or any other critter found in Utah, check out our Utah field guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com

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