Fun Farm Friends - Turkeys

Wild Turkeys were introduced into Wisconsin sin in 1976, not that long ago. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says,

“The wild turkey is a Wisconsin wildlife management success story. A vital role in the success of the wild turkey management program can be attributed to hunters through their purchase of the Wild Turkey Stamp, which provides critical financial support in providing future opportunities for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin.”

Environmental Education for Kids (EEK!) tells us they are native to parts of the state, but by 1881 they disappeared,

“Settlement and an increase in farming and logging led to the clearing of the state's oak forests. The raising of domestic birds resulted in the spread of diseases to wild turkeys. Unregulated hunting also took its toll. The last turkey sighting in Wisconsin was near Darlington in Lafayette County in 1881.

“In 1976, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources made a trade with the state of Missouri in order to bring wild turkeys back to Wisconsin. We gave them ruffed grouse; they gave us wild turkeys. The first 29 wild Missouri turkeys were released in Vernon County. The turkeys thrived in their new home and began to breed and increase their population.”

Wild Turkeys are much different than what many of us have at Thanksgiving. They are prevalent in Central Wisconsin. says,

“Wild Turkeys generally find their food in these open areas.  They like to eat plants and small animals wherever they are able to find them.  Consisting of this diet is also: insects, acorns, seeds, and a delicious variety of fruits.  Their main diet focuses on the plants.”

They also tend to eat farmers’ crops.