Did you know that 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving according to the National Turkey Federation? Did you also know that wild turkeys are not in fact a native species of Idaho?
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game explains that wild turkeys were transplanted into the region in the 1960s (“Turkeys in Idaho”). However, the practice of raising turkeys was a popular operation for farms and ranches in the Gem State in the early 1900s. Often the birds were raised on open ranges, as showcased in the image below.
This scan comes from the University of Idaho Stillinger Herbarium Glass Lantern Slides Collection. The slide features an image of turkeys on an open range in Northern Idaho in 1939. Open ranges are a type of rangeland primarily used for grazing animals that don’t have fences or barriers.
Some of the glass slides come from a 1938 research project conducted in the Selway Game Preserve (now a portion of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area) by Willard Leslie Robinette. This image is the only one in the collection containing turkeys in Idaho earlier than the 1961 introduction.
University of Idaho Stillinger Herbarium Glass Lantern Slides Collection, PG 106-042, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.
“Turkeys in Idaho.” Idaho Fish and Game, 26 Sept. 2018.