Talking Turkey Conservation

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Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

“We’ve had great support from landowners for this effort,” said Jason Hardin, Upland Game Bird Specialist with TPWD. “We were all happy to see a lot of young birds this past summer. Hopefully, we will have similar success in 2018.”

The most common subspecies in Texas is the Rio Grande turkey, which can be found in large numbers in South, Central, and North Texas. The highest density of birds can be found in the Edwards Plateau, west of San Antonio.

“Rio Grande wild turkeys are doing great in Texas,” notes Hardin. “We’ve had three years of timely rainfall and relatively cool summer temperatures, which set the stage for a population boom. Turkeys are being seen in areas of the state where they had been missing for several years, which is a boon to wildlife watchers and hunters alike.”

Photo: Jonathan Vail

The least common turkey subspecies in Texas is the Merriam’s, found only in remote mountainous terrain in West Texas. A few Merriam’s can still be found in both the Davis and Guadalupe Mountains.

Curious readers might wonder what a biologist who studies turkeys plans on eating on Thanksgiving Day. “A Butterball like everyone else,” he laughed. “We eat plenty of wild turkey the rest of the year!”

Hardin shared his favorite wild turkey recipe, which might come in handy for those Thanksgiving leftovers.



1 cup shredded cheddar and Monterrey cheese

½ cup chopped onions

12 corn tortillas

1 jar verde sauce

½ turkey breast


Preheat the oven to 350℉. Boil turkey breast with chicken bouillon cubes. (Skip this step if using leftovers!) Mix the cheese, onion, and shredded turkey. Add some verde sauce to the mix to moisten. Heat some vegetable oil in pan, cook tortillas to soften. Dip the tortillas in verde sauce. Place turkey mixture in tortilla, roll enchiladas, and place in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover enchiladas with verde sauce and more grated cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese melts.