Friday, March 4, 2011

Urban Turkeys

Wild Turkey photo by L. Ross

This morning was dedicated to placing a post and new bluebird house that I built for my daughter. We live a couple of miles apart in Travelers Rest. She and her husband live in a development on the outskirts of town. After completing the installation, we were standing on her deck admiring it and she looked across the road toward some large oak trees. She turned and asked me, "What are those big birds in the trees?"

I looked up and spotted a couple of turkey hens perched high in the treetops. They were nervous and started flying from tree to tree, but didn't fly to the ground. It was sprinkling rain and despite the fact that it was almost 10:00 a.m., they had remained in the trees all the time that I was digging the posthole and attaching the birdhouse.

During travel through the surrounding countryside, it is amazing to see the widespread population of wild turkeys. Several decades ago, it was very unusual to see a wild turkey in the upstate area.

The restocking of the wild turkeys and deer are two success stories of the mid-twentieth century and we can thank the foresight of DNR and supporting conservation groups for a job well done.

The growing population of coyotes is a definite influence on the populations of these two species and it remains to be seen what the long-term effects will be. Already, SCDNR is proposing changing bag limits and doe tag restrictions. Reduced limits on bucks and a tagging system have been proposed. These are good management tools and will have to be administered by region to have the desired impact.

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