116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Did you know turkeys were once wiped out in Iowa more than 100 years ago?
The state’s wild turkey population was able to bounce back many years later with the help of some wildlife experts.
There are five different types of turkeys across the United States. In Iowa, we have what’s known as the Eastern subspecies, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Over the years, the number of these birds in Iowa and in many other states dropped. Experts say turkeys were disappearing because of year-round hunting and the clearing of forest habitats to make way for farming.
By 1910, wild turkeys were completely wiped out in Iowa. The last turkey was seen that year in Lucas County, which is in the south central part of the state, according to the DNR.
By the 1920s, wildlife conservationists were working to rebuild the turkey population in Iowa. However, it wasn’t until years later that scientists found a solution.
In the mid-1960s, they borrowed wild turkeys from Missouri, and the bird soon was successfully reintroduced in Iowa. According to the DNR, the Missouri turkeys adapted so well to Iowa’s landscape that the population was booming by the 1980s.
Because Iowa’s wild turkey population has grown so much, state wildlife conservationists have been able to trade some of their extra turkeys for other wild animals to help rebuild other populations.
According to the DNR, Iowa has traded more than 7,000 turkeys for other wildlife with other states, including river otters and prairie chickens.
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