Wild Turkey Public Comments and Department Response

National Wild Turkey Federation Proposal - Public Comments and Department Response December 17, 2001

A proposal to introduce wild turkeys to Nova Scotia was made to the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables on April 6, 2001 by the Nova Scotia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The proposal was reviewed by the Department and subsequently released for public input.

A two month public review was announced on August 25, 2001 by a press release and newspaper advertisement. The proposal was made available through the NR&R web site, at NR&R offices and through targeted mail outs to specific stakeholders.

A total of 161 written responses were received. Of these, 135 were in favour, 23 were opposed and three offered no specific opinion.

Those in favour , including nine wildlife organizations, noted that risks appeared to be low and that benefits to the hunting community were high. Some also noted the potential for economic benefit and a number volunteered assistance of funds, labour or land.

Those opposed, including six organizations, expressed a variety of concerns which fall under the following areas:

  1. This would be the introduction of an alien species and should not be considered because of the poor record of many past introductions such as starlings, house sparrows, chain pickerel, etc..
  2. There are many unknown risks from disease and ecosystem disruption and an independent ecological risk assessment needs to be completed.
  3. The introduction of a species for a single user group (hunters) is inappropriate.
  4. There would be conflicts with other outdoor users if spring hunting of turkeys was allowed.
  5. This would exacerbate the current problem of hunters on agricultural land.
  6. Disease concerns for agricultural species.
  7. Concerns for damage to agricultural crops.
  8. Deflection of government resources from the management of native species.

As a result of these concerns and in consultation with other government departments, the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables has determined that there is a need for a comprehensive assessment performed by a qualified independent third party which addresses the ecological, disease and nuisance risks of the introduction.

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables will also be developing a more formal protocol for addressing requests of this nature over the next six months which will more clearly outline the steps which need to be taken.

Organizations Responding to the NWTF Proposal

Organizations in Favour :

  • Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  • Cape Breton Wildlife Association
  • Queens County Fish and Game Association
  • Big Game Society of Nova Scotia
  • Digby East Fish and Game Association
  • Bowhunters Association of Nova Scotia
  • South Shore Wildlife Association
  • Port Morien Wildlife

Organizations Opposed:

  • Tusket River Environmental Association
  • Nova Scotia Egg Producers
  • Annapolis County Federation of Agriculture
  • Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists
  • Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association
  • Nova Scotia Bird Society

Technical Input:

  • Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre