Vermont’s wild turkeys are a success story for restoration

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s wild turkey population is the result of a successful wildlife restoration project, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said.

Wild turkeys had disappeared from the state in the mid to late 1800s when the land was cleared for farming and destroyed habitats, the department said. At the time, only a quarter of the state was covered by forest, officials said.

In 1969 and 1970, the department housed 31 wild turkeys in Rutland County when the state’s forest habitat was able to support the birds again, the department said. Wildlife biologists moved groups of turkeys north. Now the state has a population of nearly 50,000 wild turkeys.

“This is just one of many success stories for wildlife restoration that we can be grateful for in 2021,” the department said in a statement.

The restoration was paid for by the sale of hunting licenses and a federal tax on hunting equipment, the state said.