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Wild Turkeys Back in Large Numbers, Experts Say

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Wild turkey populations are rebounding in the Midwest (photo from National Wild Turkey Federation)

By Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, Ill – The grocery store and the dinner table aren't the only places people in the Midwest can see turkeys this Thanksgiving.

Nature experts say after a long campaign to restore turkey populations, the birds are once again part of the wildlife in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Bob Massey is a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says for those on the lookout, wild turkeys are brown and are actually much smarter and faster than many expect.

"Wild turkeys are very wiley animals," Massey said. "They don't give predators a second chance to get after them. As soon as they think something's wrong, they're history."

Massey says hunters nearly killed off wild turkeys in much of the Midwest, but hunting restrictions and the introduction of animals from states like Virginia has allowed the birds to make a come back.

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