|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Returning the wild turkey
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – With a goal of insuring San Jacinto County’s hunting heritage, a recently formed county-based organization of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is planning a banquet on Aug. 20 at Coldspring High School cafeteria. The purpose of the banquet is to raise funds to help the NWTF in cooperation with the newly formed San Jac Strutters, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Forest Service and cooperating landowners to re-introduce Eastern turkeys to San Jacinto County. “This is a costly endeavor because wild turkeys must be bou8ght and caught in other states and relocated to Texas,” said San Jac Strutters member Martha Baker. “Research has shown that this strategy has the highest success. This can happen as early as next February so funds are needed quickly, she said. Recently the Texas Parks & Wildlife closed turkey hunting season due to the lack of a sustainable wild turkey fl ock. They estimate reopening the season in fi ve years in hopes that a sustainable wild turkey fl ock can be established in the county. San Jac Strutters are selling tickets to the banquet. Tickets are $60 for individuals or $75 for a couple, a sponsor ticket is $250. Jakes (5-17) are $15. Hunter Table tickets and Gold Table tickets are $450 and $850 respectively, according to Baker. “A Gold Table is guaranteed one gun for the table. The tables are for a group of 8,” Baker said. The National Wild Turkey Federation was formed in 1973 in South Carolina and operates chapters in every state. The state chapter’s biologist works with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials on studying the feasibility and efficacy of conservation programs. The super stocking of more than 40 Eastern wild turkeys in the Sam Houston National forest, consistent with establishing cooperative agreements with landowners whose properties face the conservation area, is one dimension of the federation’s game plan. Inevitably a string of closed hunting seasons would let nature take its course. Then a coveted subspecies of wild turkey would attract hunters, ideally benefit the area economy and enhance the federation’s educational and recreational programs that already would have been underway, according to San Jacinto County Extension Agent Aaron Sumrall. The objective is to convince county residents of the inherent benefits of awarding scholarships, preserving a hunting heritage through youth activities and stimulating vast outdoor family activities, Sumrall said. “You see the influx of people coming into this county every fall to hunt deer. Well, that’s a lot of money. Turkey season is in the spring. If you’ve got the community buy-in, then this is an unbelievable opportunity,” Sumrall said.