DENVER, Colo. —February 17th marked the first day that transplanted Merriam turkeys touched ground in Douglas County. Due to a wild turkey distribution project involving a cooperative effort between private landowners, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), a flock of turkeys were released east of Larkspur, Colorado. The turkeys were caught in the area of Debeque, Colorado where their populations are flourishing and were brought to the recently improved habitat area for release.

“In addition to offering a great opportunity to partner with landowners and key organizations, the transplant of these Merriam turkeys will also afford the DOW an opportunity to expand habitat for these popular game birds,” said Casey Westbrook, district wildlife manager for Elizabeth. “It is always rewarding to find suitable habitat to increase Colorado’s wildlife populations.”

While population establishment projects like this are not common place, there are cases where suitable wildlife habitat exists that has not been colonized or recently occupied. The release site was one such case, having been further improved by several shrub plantings along with exclusionary cattle fencing to promote and protect areas of valuable wildlife forage and hiding cover.

Wild turkeys released into this area will further enhance a landscape rich in wildlife and in future will provide increased hunting and viewing opportunities. Projects such as this are one way in which the DOW works cooperatively with other organizations like the NWTF to achieve the goal of protecting, preserving and enhancing the wildlife of the state of Colorado for the use benefit and enjoyment of its residents and visitors.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

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