Somewhere between the corn rows and the river's edge on Robert Umland's property in Bullard Township, you may catch a glimpse of a wild gobbler. That's after 15 wild turkey hens and three jakes -- young males -- were released there Friday morning...
Somewhere between the corn rows and the river's edge on Robert Umland's property in Bullard Township, you may catch a glimpse of a wild gobbler.
That's after 15 wild turkey hens and three jakes -- young males -- were released there Friday morning.
"We're trying to do all we can to get wild birds established so we can have a hunting season," explained Rob Naplin, area wildlife supervisor for the DNR.
Naplin, who is based in Park Rapids, said building a self-sustaining population of the birds can only be done through the catch and release of wild turkeys from areas to our south.
"Pen-raised birds hinder that," he said.
The funding for the catch-and-release program comes from the National Wild Turkey Federation, which has a strong presence in Wadena County despite the lack of a season for that sport.
"It's not like deer hunting, which has a season and everyone does it," noted Ryan Ritari, a member of the federation.
The 18 turkeys were scooped up from the Austin, Minn., area before being released in eastern Wadena County last week. They were released on Umland's farm, which is one of the northernmost releases to date. The DNR is making an effort to establish turkey populations farther and farther north as the program expands.
Naplin estimated the turkeys will spread out about one mile per year.
Ritari said the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation also puts on events to get kids interested in the outdoors. The group will host an ice-fishing derby for kids this Sunday at 1 p.m. at the east access of Rush Lake. All ages of kids are welcome to attend, and prizes are given away.