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Wild Texas turkeys brought to Nevada

Justin Broglio
Incline Village residents Craig Mortimore, Carter Lurtz, 8, Michael Guymon, 8, and Anya Guymon release turkeys Thursday in Dayton.
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INCLINE VILLAGE – Northern Nevada will see an increase in wild turkeys, thanks to some North Shore residents.

Mike and Anya Guymon held a fundraiser last spring to support the state’s wild turkey population, and their efforts paid off on Thursday when the Nevada Department of Wildlife released throughout the state 174 wild turkeys transplanted from central Texas.

Wild turkeys are not native to the state of Nevada.

“We’ve always had an affection for wild turkeys in our family,” said Mike Guymon, who founded the Tahoe chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation with his wife last spring.

The Guymons raised more than $6,000, enough to sponsor the relocation of one family of turkeys (30 birds) to a private ranch in the Dayton Valley.

“It was very exciting,” said Anya Guymon, whose sons Michael, 8, and Nicholas, 5, and family friend Carter Lurtz, 8, assisted NDOW wildlife biologists Craig Mortimore and Carl Lackey with Thursday’s release.

“The boys had a great time,” she said. “They got to hold the birds and help with the tagging (which helps NDOW identify the birds during future wildlife surveys) and it was great learning experience.”

Wild turkey populations have been in decline in Northern Nevada over the past few decades as a result of urban development and drought in the region, said Lackey.

“These transplanted birds will help get the populations going again,” he said.

Re-release of the non-native birds has also caused problems in nearby regions.

The birds, released by the California State Department of Fish and Game in Napa County in the 1950s, have spread throughout Marin and Sonoma counties.

Most notably, wild turkeys have impacted the Point Reyes National Seashore, where the omnivorous birds have been known to feed on salamanders, endangered red-legged frogs and California quail eggs, national parks spokesman John Dell’Osso said.

Wild turkey release sites include Dayton and Lahontan valleys, the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area near Yerington and a site in Southern Nevada’s Lincoln County which already have established wild turkey populations that will be augmented by the transplanted birds – which categorically fit into one of 50 “game” bird species as identified by the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“We’re trying to interject new genetics into these populations,” Mortimore said. “Bringing in new birds from Texas enhances the population and allows the birds to better adapt to their changing environment.”


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