Recently a group of wild turkey enthusiasts got together to get their hands dirty for turkeys.

“This event was exactly what we hoped for,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “Folks have been asking for hands-on activities to help turkeys, and this work bee did that and more – it also created some great relationships.”

Over 50 people showed up at the Rose Lake DNR office in East Lansing on a Saturday morning, including DNR employees, local National Wild Turkey Federation members, MSU students and people who just wanted to lend a hand.

This group transplanted over 1,000 bare-root crabapple seedlings into large landscaping pots. The transplanted crabapples will then spend the next one to two years in an outdoor fenced-in facility, and will then be transplanted onto public land in northern Michigan as an excellent winter food source for turkeys and other wildlife species.

“We have over 200,000 turkeys in Michigan, so turkeys mean a lot to many people,” said Stewart. “Getting together to do some habitat work, tell turkey hunting stories, and have lunch is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.”

Stewart added that, through partnerships like this, habitat conditions can be boosted in areas where conditions are not ideal. When many people pitch in to help, projects are easier and more cost-effective.

“This was a great project to help make a difference in turkey habitat,” said National Wild Turkey Federation President Tony Snyder. “We try really hard to help wildlife, and not just turkeys. In the end we are sportsmen who appreciate many different critters, and we absolutely love this stuff!”

Wild turkeys are a game species in Michigan, and their numbers have increased enough to support two hunting seasons each year (spring and fall) in many parts of the state. The spring turkey season is currently in full swing, with licenses still available in some units. To find additional information about spring turkey hunting season, go to www.michigan.gov/turkey.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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