Introduction of wild turkeys to Ontario


The Triumphant Return: Wild Turkeys in Ontario

Once upon a time, wild turkeys roamed the diverse landscapes of Ontario, flourishing in the province’s rich and abundant habitats. However, by the early 20th century, these magnificent birds had vanished from Ontario’s forests due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. In a remarkable tale of wildlife restoration, Ontario has witnessed the triumphant return of the wild turkey, thanks to the tireless efforts of conservationists, government agencies, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The journey to reintroduce wild turkeys to Ontario began in earnest in the 1980s, spearheaded by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) in collaboration with partners such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). Initial efforts involved the translocation of wild turkeys from neighboring US states and other provinces, where populations were thriving. Over the years, these dedicated conservationists and volunteers released hundreds of birds into carefully selected habitats across Ontario, laying the foundation for a prosperous comeback.


As the years went by, the reintroduced turkeys adapted and thrived, with their population growing exponentially. By the early 2000s, wild turkeys had made a remarkable return, with tens of thousands of birds strutting their stuff throughout the province. This resounding success can be attributed to the resilience and adaptability of these birds, coupled with careful habitat management, responsible hunting practices, and ongoing research and monitoring.

The return of wild turkeys to Ontario has had far-reaching benefits beyond the restoration of a native species. Their presence has bolstered the province’s biodiversity and enriched our natural ecosystems, as turkeys serve as an essential link in the food chain. Additionally, their reestablishment has led to the rise of a thriving turkey hunting tradition, fostering a deeper appreciation for the outdoors and contributing to the province’s economy and conservation initiatives.

Today, as we venture into Ontario’s forests and witness the vibrant spectacle of wild turkeys in their element, we are reminded of the incredible power of dedicated conservation efforts. The successful reintroduction of wild turkeys to Ontario is a testament to the determination of countless individuals, agencies, and organizations committed to preserving our province’s rich natural heritage. So, as you wander the woods or settle into your blind, take a moment to appreciate the remarkable story of the wild turkey’s return, and remember that their continued success rests in our hands.

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