SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A wild turkey hunt is back on in Utah for the first time in three decades.
The Division of Wildlife Resources is allowing the fall hunt as they estimate the state’s wild turkey population has swelled to more than 20,000. The Salt Lake Tribune reports nearly 300 hunters have received permits.
There’s debate about whether turkeys are native to the state. Wildlife officials say it appears the Merriam’s subspecies is native to southeastern Utah, based on turkey bones and turkey rock art found near ancient ruins.
Others believe turkeys might have been traded and weren’t native. There isn’t evidence of turkeys in the area when pioneers arrived in Utah.
The first turkey hunt in the state was held in 1967, but the fall hunt was eliminated in 1984.