Sunday, March 16, 2008

Turkey Season in Two Egg

Saturday marked the beginning of the annual Spring Turkey Season in Florida. Turkey hunting has become a major sport in the Two Egg area.
I'm not a hunter myself, but my youngest son enjoys it very much so I've learned quite a bit about turkey hunting from him.
I have also followed the return of wild turkeys to the Two Egg area with great interest. I remember the birds being somewhat common when I was a kid growing up in the area in the 1960s. My Uncle C.W., who for many years ran Parramore Restaurant at Parramore Landing on Lake Seminole, used to catch live ones from time to time and hold them in a wire pen for me to see. It also used to be tradition for my Uncle Gene to go out each year at Thanksgiving to shoot a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether all of this was legal then, I don't know, but it has been more than 40 years ago.
Then, though, it seemed like the wild turkeys almost completely disappeared from our area. This may have had something to do with over hunting, but I suspect that the use of DDT to combat the region's growing fire ant population probably was the real cause. No one knew it at the time, of course, but DDT weakened the shells of bird, alligator and frog eggs and caused widespread damage to the wildlife population in Jackson County. Many species that I remember being quite common when I was a young child almost totally disappeared.
Things are getting better now, though. Florida wildlife authorities have done a great job of reintroducing wild turkeys into the region and careful management of hunting has allowed them to rebound nicely. I hear them in the woods just standing in the back yard and have seen several of impressive size just in the past week.
It seems like the media often focuses (often with good cause) on the damage that humans do to the environment, but the return of wild turkeys to the Two Egg area is a good example too of what humans can do to help the environment when we put our minds to it.

No comments: