Wyoming is home to one of the largest wild turkey populations in the west, but that wasn’t always the case.

Up until the 1930s, there were no wild turkeys in the Cowboy State. That changed when the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish organized a trade with New Mexico, exchanging several sage grouse for 15 wild turkeys.

As it turns out, Wyoming offered an excellent habitat for the wild turkeys and became one of the state’s greatest wildlife management achievements. Originally released near Laramie Peak, the wild turkey population quickly grew to over 1,000.

In the 1950s, several of those wild turkeys were relocated to the Black Hills, where another flock thrived. Since then, wild turkey populations have grown large enough to provide local hunters with two seasons annually, one in the spring and one in the fall.

Turkey hunting is now among the most popular adventures for hunting and outdoor enthusiasts across the state, especially during the fall season.