Though the turkey is a staple of the Thanksgiving meal, hunters in Wyoming could not harvest the wild turkey until 1955.

Since then, the fall and spring season is full of hunters stalking these birds to provide food for their families.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has presented the history of the turkey in Wyoming just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The history of the turkey in Wyoming began in 1935 when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department swapped sage grouse with New Mexico for 15 Merriam’s turkeys. These birds were released on the George Waln Ranch on Cottonwood Creek in Platte County that spring, where they thrived. 

The Wyomingites involved in the turkey restoration had great reverence and respect for the bird, with the Laramie Peak birds serving as seed stock for several futile reintroduction attempts across the state until birds were sowed into the fertile habitat of the Black Hills in 1951-52. 

Fall turkey hunting is different from the camouflaged calling of the spring, as turkeys can spot hunter orange

Compared to domestic turkeys, wild turkeys have less fat and tend to be a little drier, have longer legs, and a proportionally smaller, more angular breast with a fuller flavor. 

Last fall, 1,791 hunters put 1,193 Wyoming turkeys on tables.

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