Sit back and relax: Talkin’ turkey

Digital Originals

YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — One of Pennsylvania’s top conservation comeback stories paid a visit to a backyard bird feeder.

As settlers moved across Pennsylvania from the 17th to 19th centuries, they shot turkeys for food and cleared wooded areas vital to their survival. By the early 1900s, only about 3,000-5,000 turkeys could be found in the state, mostly in mountains of the southcentral counties.

The Game Commission established bag limits and hunting seasons, which helped protect what was left of the turkey population, and tried various captive breeding programs.

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Meanwhile, the clearcut forests regrew and matured, providing the habitat the turkeys needed. The turkeys started to re-inhabit these areas, and a Game Commission trap-and-transfer program helped turkeys expand their range. They can now, once again, be found in every county of the state.

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