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Montana Receives Nebraska Turkeys

Wild turkeys from Nebraska received a one-way trip to Montana last week, courtesy of the states’ wildlife management officials.

Montana wildlife officials were in Crawford on Friday to retrieve 125 wild turkeys that were captured in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission employees caught the birds Thursday in netted enclosures on private property near Whiteclay.

Unlike the birds’ new home, the turkey population in the area of the capture is especially high and landowners were contented to part with the birds. The turkeys, which were examined by a veterinarian before being placed in cardboard boxes, were to be released in the Great Falls area of Montana upon arrival.

This marks the second consecutive year Nebraska has transferred birds to the Great Falls region where officials are establishing a turkey population with the sought-after characteristics of the Merriam’s subspecies found in northwestern Nebraska. Montana received 91 Nebraska turkeys last year.

Nebraska wildlife officials say the transfer is good for wildlife conservation overall and continues a tradition of states helping each other when they can. A sizable portion of Nebraska’s bighorn sheep population originated from animals that were relocated from Montana.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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