As Thanksgiving approaches, turkey hunters — both literal and figurative — seek out birds for the holiday table.
Turkeys aren’t native to Wyoming, but are well-established in much of the eastern half of the state and popular to hunt.
Wild turkeys were originally introduced to Wyoming in 1935 when New Mexico traded nine hens and six toms to the state in exchange for sage grouse, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The initial release site was in Platte County; people then moved the birds to the Black Hills area.
Today two kinds of wild turkeys, the Rio Grande and Merriam’s, can be found across the state. Hunters can pursue turkeys — the largest game bird in North America — in fall and spring.
Of course, many “hunters” stalk their birds from store aisles and as farm customers. Second Street Farm of Lander raised about 120 birds for the holiday. The farm sold out of its pasture-raised birds in about a week, farmer Pat Brennan said.
Aside from being “amazing” for Second Street Farm’s pastures, Brennan said turkeys are fun to raise.
“They have big personalities,” he said.