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June 19, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
June 19, 2009

MONTGOMERY, Ala. --  The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division is releasing a free, 106-page book on Alabama's most popular game bird -- the Eastern wild turkey.

The Wild Turkey In Alabama, written by the husband-wife team of Steven and Victoria Barnett, is intended to assist in habitat enhancement and the management of wild turkey. Steven Barnett has been a biologist with the WFF Division for 23 years, while his wife is a former naturalist with Historic Blakely State Park but now serves as children's librarian for the Bay Minette Public Library.

Packed with color photos and information about the state's popular game bird, The Wild Turkey In Alabama contains chapters dedicated to taxonomy, population distribution, habitat requirements, predation and predator management and harvesting. The book also chronicles conservation efforts started in 1943 that were aimed at reversing the near extinction of Alabama's turkey population due to unregulated year-round harvesting and habitat destruction in the early 1900s.

Since then the eastern wild turkey has enjoyed a successful come back in Alabama thanks to WFF conservation efforts and habitat improvements by landowners. Based on a 2007 estimate there are more than 500,000 wild turkeys statewide.

"The conservation model that led to the successful wild turkey recovery in Alabama hinged on strong partnerships with private landowners," said Steven Barnett. "Forward-thinking land use decisions that focus on conservation will ensure a bright future for not only the wild turkey, but wildlife as a whole."

According to the authors the economic impact of the bird's presence in the state is as dramatic as its population recovery. In 2007 alone hunters spent $45 million during spring turkey season. However, the authors state that the value of a well-balanced ecosystem, including the presence of wild turkey, is as important as the birds' economic impact because it ensures wildlife encounters for generations to come.

The Wild Turkey In Alabama can be downloaded at www.outdooralabama.com. It can also be obtained by calling the Wildlife Section at (334) 242-3469.

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