DNR to offer wild turkey forum next week in Marquette

Wildlife Through Forestry series of special events continues

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will continue its popular series of “wildlife through forestry” special events with a turkey forum in Marquette Township next week.

“Wild turkeys have long been established in the southern parts of the Upper Peninsula, but have expanded their range north in increasing numbers in recent years,” said Gary Willis, a DNR service forester in Baraga and organizer of the popular Wildlife Forum Row. “People see wild turkeys in remote locations, even in areas with heavy snowfall like those in Keweenaw County — the region’s northernmost county. Our upcoming forum will discuss this expansion and answer numerous questions commonly asked by the public.”

The forum will be held at Marquette Township Hall at 1000 Commerce Drive on Thursday, September 29 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live via Zoom.

Pam Nankervis is pictured with a turtle.  (Photo courtesy of Pam Nankervis)

The forum will be represented by three wildlife biologists: Pam Nankervis, habitat biologist for the US Forest Service’s Ottawa National Forest; Jim Hammill, wildlife biologist and Safari Club International biologist; and Ryan McGillviray, DNR wildlife biologist and wild turkey specialist.

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During the first half of the event, the biologists will work together to study the adaptive traits and environmental factors that enable this range expansion of wild turkeys. What factors are driving this northward migration? How do wild turkeys survive in heavy snow cover?

During the second half of the forum, McGillviray will discuss turkey hunting techniques based on his many years of traveling the country hunting turkeys. He will demonstrate bait layout and calling techniques while also answering questions from those in attendance.

Prizes are awarded for the first correct answer to pop-up questions.

“This event is the latest in a fascinating series of wildlife through forestry forums taking place in the western Upper Peninsula since 2017,” said John Pepin, DNR Assistant Public Affairs Officer. “These sessions combine wildlife issues with the many ways bird and animal habitat can be developed and enhanced for a range of species on private land.”

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Each of these sessions included a presentation on an interesting and important wildlife related topic, with additional information for private landowners on the value of a forest management plan.

Jim Hammill is pictured at a meeting of the Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup in Ishpeming.

“We want to get people excited about sound resource management so that they build a family heritage with their forest holdings,” Willis said. “We want to show people the importance of working closely with a resource professional to achieve their goals and ownership goals. We also want people to have a good time when they come together to discuss issues that interest us all.”

A panel of resource professionals will be present at the forum to discuss the development, preparation and implementation of forest stewardship plans.

More than 150 professional forest rangers and 20 wildlife biologists develop forest stewardship plans for forest landowners in Michigan.

For information regarding these plans or the Commercial Forest Program, contact Gary Willis, DNR Service Forester, 427 US 41 North, Baraga, Michigan, 49908; 906-353-6651, ext. 207-0122 or [email protected]

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Conservation districts in many Michigan counties provide rangers for free on-site visits to private landowners’ properties. They can discuss the landowner’s goals for wildlife habitats and forestry, and help decide whether there are financial support programs that allow cost-sharing for the preparation and implementation of resource management plans.

In Marquette and Alger counties, contact Forester Sara Kelso at 906-236-9484 or call the Marquette County Conservation District office at 906-226-8871, ext. 3071.

Note to the editor: Accompanying photos are available for download below. Subtitle information to follow. Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources unless otherwise noted.

Hammill: Jim Hammill, Wildlife Biology Advisor and Biologist for Safari Club International, is pictured at a meeting of the Upper Peninsula Habitat Working Group.

McGillviray: Ryan McGillviray, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist and wild turkey specialist, is shown with a wild turkey he has bagged.

Nankervis: Pam Nankervis, biologist for the US Forest Service’s Ottawa National Forest, is pictured with a turtle. (Photo courtesy of Pam Nankervis)

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