Article by Mark Hall, EKWTA Field Program Coordinator
The study dispels some rumours and myths that, historically, have tended to perpetuate stereotypes in the hunting and agriculture communities. By providing factual information, the study should help hunters develop a better appreciation of the challenges faced by local agriculture producers. In addition to those benefits, the study also provides wildlife managers and policy makers with factual information on the effects of wild turkey on agriculture as well as the overall attitudes of agriculture producers towards wild turkeys. Conversely, the study also provides agriculture operators with a better understanding of wild turkey biology and the interest that the EKWTA and NWTF have in pro-actively addressing concerns created by wild turkeys.
Some of the study’s key findings include:
- Wild turkeys are not causing significant wide-spread losses to commercial agriculture producers in the East Kootenays.
- Rumours and stories that all commercial agriculture producers hate wild turkeys are unfounded.
- Nearly half of the producers indicate wild turkeys provide some type of beneficial service.
- Losses and damages caused by wild turkeys are not significantly affecting the producer’s bottom line.
- Wild turkeys do not pose a risk of disease transfer to domestic livestock.
- There is a general interest and tolerance among agriculture producers regarding wild turkeys as long as damages do not exceed current levels.
- 75% of producers reported that allowing hunting on their private land is the main action taken to reduce negative effects caused by wild turkeys.
The EKWTA has hosted the annual Hunting Heritage Super Fund fundraiser banquet for the last 11 years and, for the last 9 years, has hosted a youth outdoor fun day, called “JAKES Day”. Since 1985, approximately $31,000 of the NWTF’s BC wild turkey super fund has been invested back into wildlife conservation in this province.