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Elk WILDLIFE DIVISION
Regulating harvest, health, and enhancement of wildlife populations
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Wild Turkey Management Plan - Four Options for Wild Turkey Trap and Transplant Guidelines

OPTION 1. Current Interim Guidelines

Trap and Transplant Criteria

  1. All trapping will occur to alleviate depredation and nuisance problems.
  2. Trapped birds will be used to augment existing populations.
  3. Release locations must provide opportunities for public hunting.

Trap and Transplant Guidelines

  1. Trap sites will be developed from depredation and nuisance complaints only.
  2. ODFW watershed managers will submit a list of release sites in priority order to the Wildlife Division using the following prioritization criteria.
    1. All releases must occur at sites where turkeys currently exist.
    2. First priority are public lands that allow hunting and second priority are private lands that allow hunting.
  3. The Wildlife Division in cooperation with regions will prioritize a statewide release site list and provide to the trap crew supervisor(s). All releases will be determined from the statewide release list.
  4. ODFW will continue to match, if funding is available, NWTF contributions to the trap and transplant program to fund a trap crew.
  5. Wild turkeys captured will be disease tested under current protocols prior to release.
    1. 20% of birds tested for Mycoplasma gallisepticum as indicated by Dept. of Agriculture.
  6. All wild turkeys will be aged, sexed, and banded.
  7. Wild turkeys captured in numbers not sufficient to warrant the expense to transport to priority release sites, will be released in the existing county to augment existing populations.
  8. All banding information, numbers of birds released, release location, date of release etc. will be provided to the wildlife division.

OPTION 2. Controlled introduction of wild turkeys to all suitable habitat

Trap and Transplant Guidelines

  1. Priority will be given to trap sites that will reduce depredation and nuisance. If necessary to meet transplant needs, sites of concentration that could sustain the removal of ~ 30 turkeys could be selected.
  2. The release of turkeys will be used for the following purposes (in order of priority):
    1. Augment existing populations (turkeys commonly exist in immediate area).
    2. Augment turkey populations in habitat mapped as “currently occupied” by the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map.
    3. Introduce turkeys to habitat mapped as “currently unoccupied suitable habitat” by the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map.
  3. Every 5 years, the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map delineating “currently occupied” and “currently unoccupied suitable habitat” will be updated in consultation with wildlife districts, wildlife division, and other interested parties. “Currently occupied” delineations will be based on harvest records, sightings, survey data, and local knowledge of field biologists.
  4. Priority will be given to release locations that will provide future opportunities for public hunting.
  5. Annually, ODFW watershed managers will submit a list of release sites in priority order to the Wildlife Division using the following prioritization criteria.
    1. Releases must occur in suitable turkey habitat.
    2. First priority for release sites will be given to public lands that allow hunting and second priority to private lands that allow hunting.
  6. The Wildlife Division in cooperation with regions will prioritize a statewide release site list and provide to the trap crew supervisor(s). All releases will be determined from the statewide release list, and releases will be made in order of prioritized list. In the event, where weather or road conditions preclude a release at a particular site, the next available site on the list will receive the release.
  7. ODFW will continue to seek cooperative funding to support the trap and transplant program.
  8. Prior to release, 20% of birds will be tested for Mycoplasma gallisepticum as indicated by Dept. of Agriculture. If any birds are a “confirmed positive”, none of the birds in the capture group will be released
  9. All captured wild turkeys will be aged, sexed, and banded.
  10. All banding information, numbers of birds released, release location, date of release etc. will be provided to the wildlife division.
  11. Wild turkeys captured to reduce damage or nuisance in numbers not sufficient to warrant the expense to transport to priority release sites, will be released in the existing county to augment existing populations.

OPTION 3. Measured Wild Turkey Trap and Transplant

Trap and Transplant Guidelines

  1. Priority will be given to trap sites that will reduce depredation and nuisance. If necessary to meet management goals, and only with prior approval of Wildlife Division, sites of wild turkey concentrations not causing depredation and nuisance and able to sustain the removal of ~ 30 turkeys may be considered as trap sites.
  2. The release of turkeys will be used for the following purposes (in order of priority):
    1. Augment existing populations (turkeys commonly exist in immediate area). Augment turkey populations in habitat that is mapped as “suitable habitat” by the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map and that is confirmed to be “currently occupied.” “Currently occupied” shall mean that reproduction has been documented 2 out of 3 years within 10 miles of the proposed release site (Rio Grande hens may disperse up to 25 miles from winter flock locations).
    2. Introduce turkeys to habitat mapped as “suitable habitat” by the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map, but is not confirmed to be “currently occupied” as defined in 2(a).
  3. Prior to turkey introduction into unoccupied habitat (as indicated on the ODFW turkey plan habitat map), a site analysis will be conducted to evaluate potential negative impacts. At a minimum, site analysis will briefly examine:
    1. Current damage or nuisance issues and likelihood of future nuisance complaints.
    2. Impacts to existing management actions, such as restoration efforts.
    3. Long-term survival of species of special concern Species of special concern will include state and federally listed Threatened, Endangered, Candidate, and Sensitive Species and species identified as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” in ODFW’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. “Potential negative impacts” will be based on credible and defensible methods such as niche overlap analysis, spatial habitat analysis, and literature review and will be interpreted at a “reasonable person standard.” Measures will be taken to mitigate potential negative impacts. If potential negative impacts cannot be mitigated or mitigation measures cannot be identified, the site will not be used as a release site.
  4. For all release sites, priority will be given to locations that will provide future opportunities for public hunting.
  5. Every 5 years, the ODFW Turkey Plan Habitat Map delineating “currently occupied habitat” and “suitable habitat” will be updated in consultation with wildlife districts, wildlife division, and other interested parties. Those areas with suitable habitat, and not defined as currently occupied, shall be considered unoccupied suitable habitat.
  6. Annually, ODFW watershed managers in consultation with their wildlife districts, and using the ODFW turkey plan habitat map, will submit to the wildlife division, a list of release sites in their order of priority. For each release site, watershed managers will identify which of the following release site designations apply:
    1. The release will augment an existing and commonly known wild turkey population.
    2. The release will occur in “currently occupied” habitat, as defined above in 2(a). Watersheds must have available documentation that area is “currently occupied” by wild turkeys.
    3. The release will expand the current range of wild turkeys in suitable habitat without any expected negative impacts, as determined through site analysis described in 3.
  7. The Wildlife Division in cooperation with regions will prioritize a statewide release site list and provide the list to trap crew supervisor(s). All releases will be determined from the statewide release list, and releases will be made in order of prioritized list. In the event, where weather or road conditions preclude a release at a particular site, the next available site on the priority list will receive the release.
  8. ODFW will continue to seek cooperative funding to support the trap and transplant program.
  9. ODFW recognizes that the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), by statutory authority in ORS 596.020, is provided the ability to “take all measures necessary and proper, in its judgment, to control diseases within this state and to eradicate and prevent the spread of infectious, contagious and communicable diseases that may exist among livestock and to prevent the entry into this state of animals or materials liable to convey infectious, contagious and communicable disease to the livestock or people of this state”. Within this general authority is the ability to cause testing and diagnostic procedures and to control and eradicate exotic and emergency diseases. ODFW will consult regularly with ODA regarding disease-testing protocols for wild turkey trap and transplants. At the minimum ODFW will, prior to release, test 20% of birds for Mycoplasma gallisepticum as indicated by ODA. If any birds test positive, none of the birds in the capture group will be released, and ODFW will immediately contact ODA for further advice and proper biosecurity measures.
  10. All captured wild turkeys will be aged, sexed, and banded.
  11. All banding information, capture location, numbers of birds released, release location, date of release etc. will be provided to the wildlife division. These records will be kept on file at ODFW headquarters indefinitely.
  12. Wild turkeys captured to reduce damage or nuisance in numbers not sufficient to warrant the expense to transport to priority release sites, will be released in the existing county to augment existing populations

OPTION 4: No Trap and Transplant

Trap and transplanting turkeys would not be permitted for any reason. Trapping would not be permitted for alleviating nuisance and/or depredation, supplementing existing turkey populations, and/or expanding currently occupied range of turkeys. Problems associated with turkeys causing nuisance and/or depredation would be addressed using the remaining methods available, such as education of landowners, removing the attractant, erecting barriers (fencing), conducting emergency hunts (where practical), and the issuance of kill permits. Removing the option of trap and transplant for addressing nuisance/depredation would be inconsistent with the department’s policy for managing other species.

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