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Hi Guys

Now that the provincial election is over hopefully we will see some changes with regards to Wild Turkey reintroduction. We need to keep up the pressure on our MLA's, especially the ones that said that they thought wild turkey reintroduction was a good idea. With more wild turkey sightings than ever, everywhere from Sussex, Cumberland bay, Fredericton, St Stephen, Christie Ridge and Hartland just to name a few and alot of these sightings being backed up with new pictures, it is clear that Maine origin wild turkeys are on the move to greener pastures (aka New Brunswick). The naysayers have been curiously quiet this year as it it hard to negate proof. They said "Wild Turkeys won't be able to breed here" and we have pictures of mother hens with a dozen poults. They said "wild turkeys can't survive in NB due to our harsh winters" and I have pictures of turkeys from last winter and the flock is still alive this summer. Anyway we have made great strides in raising the profile of the true NB Wild Turkey. Anyway I'm asking that everyone do what they can to keep wild turkey reintroduction on the new government's agenda. There are also two chapters of NWTF (Saint John and Sussex) that are very active and both would welcome any new mbrs.

Bill Gass
Oromocto, NB
 

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The only time that it would be hard on the turkey population would be if we had a harsh winter, but we don't get a lot of those anymore.
Our winters are no harder than those in Maine and there are plenty of turkeys there, I worked in northern Maine and we had over 2 feet of snow dumped on us in one storm and the birds were still there.
 

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If you examine the facts about Wild Turkeys and I have extensively, all be it only on the internet. They are surviving in far worse climates than NB. Pembroke/Petawawa Ontario, north of Ottawa has wild turkeys and I can tell you first hand that their winters are way worse than central NB. Around Ottawa the wild turkey population is doing so well that you can get two tags for the spring and one for the fall. Ottawa is on the 45th parallel and so is Fredericton, I know that you can't make too many inferences based on this fact but generally you get the idea that we are no further north than central Ontario which has a very robust population of wild turkeys. I've heard it all from people who have nothing to back up their claims. Some people have told me that wild turkeys won't survive in NB because the coyotes will just eat them. If that was the case then they'd have been killed off long ago because most other jurisdictions have just as many if not more coyotes then we do in NB. The real question is do we as New Brunswickers want wild turkeys in our province. Well the decision may have been made for us long ago, when Maine realized that wild turkeys can survive alot further north than what they thought and expanded their reintroduction efforts ever closer to the international border. A wild turkey can walk 15-20 miles in a single day if they are in search of food, not to mention they can fly for up to a mile at 60 miles per hour if they wanted to. With these two facts you can see how wild turkeys would have no problem moving from Maine to NB. Our border is at best a river/lake or just a line drawn on a map represented on the ground by a cut line. For me the question is not whether we want wild turkeys in NB, because it is my firm belief that they will eventually expand their range permanently into NB, it is whether we want to see this happen sooner or later. With the ever shrinking NB economy I would think that most folks would be glad to have another game animal that has the potential to bring an additional 15-20 million dollars into NB as it does in Maine. Just imagine a new season in the month of May, I'm told that it's an entirely different experience than hunting in the fall with song birds busy preparing their nests. I would be interested to know how many NBers head south of the border to hunt turkeys and how many dollars are we are losing as a result. In the end it will be money that will speak for it's self.

Lets not ask
"how much is wild turkey reintroduction going to cost, lets ask how much money are we losing by not reintroducing this majestic bird?"

Bill G.
VP
Saint John River Chapter
NWTF
 

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All good points and questions!

Here is a little fact about Wild Turkeys.
Just before I start, I know that this practice goes on and I have done this as well. It is not recommeneded to raise birds for many factual reasons.

OK......I did raise Wild Turkeys a number of years ago.
One night my wife and I were going out to dinner. It was in late January and -40 degrees.
I had a pen with an outside area. The inside portion was insulated and heated. On this night we turned the truck and the lights shawn on the pen. Every single bird was outside on a roost.
Well, I went into the pen and turned off the heat!!

The real reason the birds may have difficulty with winters is not the temperature but the avalibility of food.
I don't want to wright a book but NB is well positioned to maintain a population of Wild Turkeys.
After all, we had them years ago!!

Cheers
 

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Good post,Bill.You're right on with your observations.We've got them and they're here to stay.The question is,how quickly do we want them to expand their range? The dept of NR should be all over this. Think of the increased revenue from licence sales and spin-offs.I can't think of a down-side to this and if there is one,could someone please enlighten me? Cheers and keep up the good work!...RB
 

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Hi Guys

Now that the provincial election is over hopefully we will see some changes with regards to Wild Turkey reintroduction. We need to keep up the pressure on our MLA's, especially the ones that said that they thought wild turkey reintroduction was a good idea. With more wild turkey sightings than ever, everywhere from Sussex, Cumberland bay, Fredericton, St Stephen, Christie Ridge and Hartland just to name a few and alot of these sightings being backed up with new pictures, it is clear that Maine origin wild turkeys are on the move to greener pastures (aka New Brunswick). The naysayers have been curiously quiet this year as it it hard to negate proof. They said "Wild Turkeys won't be able to breed here" and we have pictures of mother hens with a dozen poults. They said "wild turkeys can't survive in NB due to our harsh winters" and I have pictures of turkeys from last winter and the flock is still alive this summer. Anyway we have made great strides in raising the profile of the true NB Wild Turkey. Anyway I'm asking that everyone do what they can to keep wild turkey reintroduction on the new government's agenda. There are also two chapters of NWTF (Saint John and Sussex) that are very active and both would welcome any new mbrs.

Bill Gass
Oromocto, NB
Bill, Just wondering about your use of the term reintroduction. You mean introduction, right? To my knowledge there has never been any evidence that wild turkeys were ever indigenous to New Brunswick. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

I like bison meat. If Maine releases bison, then ..... ok just joking
 

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I also believe that Turkeies have not been in NB for the past 100 years just recent local illegal releasing of pen raised birds and recently (10 to 15 Years ) are we seeing northern Main birds moving in because of there stocking program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Water Runner

I use the term "Reintroduction" because in the native Mailseet language there is a word for the wild turkey and in their oral tradition there are even recipies for it's preparation, this was related to me from a mbr of St Mary's in Fredericton. Their culture in NB far predates anyone elses and I would find it hard to believe that they would have a need for a word describing a wild animal that was not found in their territory, ie Saint John River Valley. There are also historical writings from Cabot (I don't have a reference for this) that describe seeing "Bustards" while on his travels, however it is hard to determine the exact location that he saw them. With Bustards being an old term for a large ground dwelling bird that lived in the Old World. So there is tantallizing evidence that wild turkeys once roamed NB as they did many other jurisdictions and because they can be easily trapped and being fantastic table fare well you can guess how they met their demise. Many folks have no idea that the white tailed deer is not native to NB and only arrived in numbers in the early 1900's. My Father in law actually told me the name of the person who shot the first whitetail in Tweedside (near Harvey)in 1933. Woodland Caibou once roamed NB and were still present in small numbers in the late 1800's. The point I'm trying to make is that animal migration has happened before as has the disapearance of certain species usually due to man's impact on the land.

Bill G.
 

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Do not get me wrong I would love to have turkeys in New Brunswick but telling people things that are not true ( Native New Brunswick Turkeys )will only bite the organize effort in the ass down the road. I have seen them in the Chipman and Salmon river area several time and I know of a couple of Guys that have Birds near ready to Release on the South end of Grand lake very soon.
 

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Do not get me wrong I would love to have turkeys in New Brunswick but telling people things that are not true ( Native New Brunswick Turkeys )will only bite the organize effort in the ass down the road. I have seen them in the Chipman and Salmon river area several time and I know of a couple of Guys that have Birds near ready to Release on the South end of Grand lake very soon.
The facts show that turkeys are native to NB. Just not in the last 80 to 100 years.
Nova Scotia also had turkeys too!
This will be a re-introduction, no question.

Gobble gobble
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Old Guide

I'm not disputing that the Chipman/Cumberland area turkeys may have been released by someone at one time, however the turkeys that are appearing west of the Saint John river are a different story. I grew up in McAdam for 18 years and have lived in NB for most of my life except ten years. We never heard of anyone ever seeing a wild turkey until that last few years. Which correlates with Maine's restocking efforts to fill all available habitat right up to the border with NB. So this makes quite a compelling case for wild turkeys naturally expanding their range into NB from Maine.
As for untruths I have presented my evidence and what I believe, if you have something to prove otherwise please make it be known. Everyone can examine the facts and come up with their own conclusions. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter if wild turkeys were historically in NB or not the fact is that they are moving into NB all on their own. We can have a viable population and a limited hunt in 20 years if we adopt the status quo or we could have one in 6 or 7 years if we instituted a trap and transfer program. Eastern Ontario (such as the Ottawa area) has an abundance of turkeys and would make an ideal place to get our stock from. Most recently in the last 5 years Quebec has realized the economic value of this bird and started trap and transfer from the southern regions of their province where the birds were coming in from New York state. This is a win win situation where NWTF isn't even asking the NB Gov for any money just authorization to begin the trap and transfer program and the revenue that the government could realize would run into the millions. We could be the only jurisdiction (so far as I know) to offer spring wild turkey hunting in the morning and spring bear hunting in the evening as one package hunt. Most places have cancelled their spring bear hunt with in the last 15 years(such as Ontario), very short sighted indeed but hey why not take full advantage of this situation and if the outfitters and government can pull in some revenue while doing so, all the better. Hopefully there were no untruths in this post.

Bill Gass
Oromocto, NB
 

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DOWN SIDE
The down side will be some complaints from farmers about crop damage. It will be minimal but the topic has to be dealt with. The farmer has to be educated that the turkey is not all bad, they actually eat a lot of destructive insects.

REINTRODUCTION
Another point on it being a reintroduction. I have been told that the Kings Landing Historical Society prides its self on the accuracy of its history. They state that the early settlers of New Brunswick lived of of the native game, the Wild Turkey being one source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
seems to me that I just read an article in the Gleaner where they said that thing, where early settlers would have wild turkey for Thanksgiving.

BG
 
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