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Wild turkeys soon will have more to worry about than Thanksgiving. Legislators on Thursday approved allowing a second turkey hunt every year to help keep down growing numbers of the wild birds.

Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, originally wrote HB342 to allow landowners to kill turkeys causing problems on their property. It was earlier amended to delete that, but the bill requires the Division of Wildlife Resources to investigate and mitigate damage to private property by wild turkeys and allows two annual hunts.

That division has moved more than 300 wild turkeys this winter from areas in northern Utah where the birds were creating issues. The turkeys were relocated to remote locations.

Wild turkeys were not found in Utah when pioneers arrived, but efforts to establish populations began in the 1920s. The state began aggressively introducing wild turkeys in 1989 and today an estimated 18,000 to 21,000 birds can be found in the state. Hunters removed 1,777 in 2012.

The Senate approved the bill 28-0 Thursday. The House had earlier approved it 60-8 vote.

Lee Davidson

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