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Wild turkeys occupy Fremont Indian ruins in Range Creek

DWR personnel Chris Rhea and Casey Olsen release turkeys at Range Creek. Some of the turkeys released in the region in eastern Carbon and Emery counties have taken up residence in ruins left by Freemont Indians.

Some Fremont Indian ruins have some new residents living among them: 20 Rio Grande wild turkeys released by the Division of Wildlife Resources on Feb. 8.

The 20 birds - five males and 15 females - were released by the DWR on the Range Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in eastern Utah.

DWR biologists trapped the birds a day earlier at the Nash Wash WMA in the South Book Cliffs.

The Rio Grande subspecies does well in low elevation riparian and agricultural habitats.

DWR wild turkey transplants, conducted in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, have allowed the birds to flourish across Utah during the last decade.

Today, Utah is home to almost 20,000 wild turkeys.

The DWR purchased the Range Creek WMA because of the value of its wildlife habitat. After the purchase, the DWR discovered a wealth of artifacts from the Fremont Indian culture. Since that time, archaeologists and anthropologists have heralded Range Creek as a treasure trove.

Since purchasing Range Creek, the DWR's role in the area has evolved. In addition to managing its wildlife, the agency also protects the area's cultural resources.

The Range Creek WMA is home to bear, cougar, deer, elk and even a few bison. The release of 20 wild turkeys will hopefully jump start the area's existing flock of birds, which has dwindled because of years of drought.

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