Most New Jerseyans will be sitting down to eat a domesticated turkey this Thursday, whether organically raised or bought from a processing plant via a local supermarket. But there are plenty of wild turkeys in the Garden State — an estimated 22,000, with about 3,000 harvested every year during the spring and fall hunting seasons. Sixteen of the state’s 21 counties have turkey-hunting areas.
Wild turkeys had pretty much been eliminated in New Jersey by the late 1800’s, due to development. The state tried to reintroduce the birds to the wild beginning in 1915 but didn’t have success until the 1970’s. The state now estimates that wild turkeys live in 20 New Jersey counties.