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Press Release

Conservation Department Publishes Wild Turkey Book

June 17, 2009

The Wild Turkey in Alabama is a new publication available from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF). The 106-page book was written by the husband and wife team of wildlife biologists Steven and Victoria Barnett, and is packed with color photos and information about the state’s popular game bird.
 
Intended as a tool to assist in habitat enhancement and the management of wild turkey, the book contains chapters dedicated to taxonomy, population distribution, habitat requirements, predation and predator management, and harvesting. The Wild Turkey in Alabama also chronicles conservation efforts started in 1943 that were aimed at reversing the near extinction of Alabama’s turkey population due to unregulated year-round harvesting and habitat destruction in the early 1900s.
 
Since then the eastern wild turkey has enjoyed a successful come back in Alabama thanks to WFF conservation efforts and habitat improvements by landowners. Based on a 2007 estimate there are more than 500,000 wild turkeys statewide.
 
“The conservation model that led to the successful wild turkey recovery in Alabama hinged on strong partnerships with private landowners,” said Steven Barnett. “Forward-thinking land use decisions that focus on conservation will ensure a bright future for not only the wild turkey, but wildlife as a whole.”
 
According to the authors the economic impact of the bird’s presence in the state is as dramatic as its population recovery. In 2007 alone hunters spent $45 million during spring turkey season. However, the authors state that the value of a well balanced ecosystem, including the presence of wild turkey, is as important as the birds’ economic impact because it ensures wildlife encounters for generations to come.
 
Those interested in reading The Wild Turkey in Alabama are encouraged to download here. It can also be obtained by calling the Wildlife Section at 334-242-3469.
 
Steven Barnett has been a biologist with the WFF Division for 23 years. A former naturalist with Historic Blakely State Park in South Alabama, Victoria Barnett is the current Children’s Librarian for the Bay Minette Public Library.
 
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
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