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Posted July 10, 2013 | Leave a comment
Turkey plan seeks public input
By Ryan Cornell
Turkey hunters could see more birds in three to four years, depending on the outcome of the Wild Turkey Management Plan being discussed in six public hearings across Virginia this month.
Developed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the plan sets goals on wild turkey population levels and habitat conservation over the next 10 years. The department expects to release a draft of the plan on or around Friday.
The six meetings will be held in Wytheville on Tuesday, Bedford on Wednesday, Verona on July 18, Fredericksburg on July 29, Hampton on July 30 and Richmond on July 31. The public is invited to offer their opinions at these meetings and learn more about wild turkeys from experts. Each meeting is scheduled to last for about two hours.
Gary Norman, VDGIF Wild Turkey Project Leader, said the primary objective of the plan is to get a sense of how people want wild turkeys managed. "We're trying to blend cultural aspects -- how many turkeys do people want in our areas -- with a biological perspective; what we can do to meet these goals.
"Not only where they live, but how we want to manage them," he said. "Is there an acceptable number?"
Norman said vineyard owners and other agricultural producers that might sustain damage from wild turkeys could want to lower the population of turkeys, while hunters and birders want to raise the number. He said others might want to keep levels the same.
"We want to find which portions of the pie we should cut into slices," said Norman.
The department has implemented management plans for white-tailed deer and black bears in its past. This is the first time it has created a plan to manage wild turkeys.
Norman said the management plan will be approved at a board meeting in October, and added that it will take some time for the results to materialize.
The public also is encouraged to write their comments on the department's website.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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