the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Paramus NJ on 26 January 1784 Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over eagle as America’s symbol in a letter to his daughter . It seems the story about Benjamin Franklin wanting the National Bird to be a turkey is probably just a myth. The story came as a result of a letter Franklin wrote to his daughter criticizing the original eagle design for the Great Seal , saying that it looked more like a turkey.
In the letter, Franklin wrote that the “Bald Eagle…is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself.” Then Franklin wrote that in comparison to the bald eagle, the turkey is “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America…He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage.” So although Benjamin Franklin defended the honor of the turkey against the bald eagle, many historians believe that the cantankerous Franklin was writing in jest.
After several run-ins with wild turkeys over the years I and the Paramus Police can vouch for Franklin’s view that the turkey is definitely a “Bird of Courage” .
The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Turkey Restoration Project represents one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in the history of the state. By the mid-1800s, turkeys had disappeared in New Jersey due to habitat changes and killing for food. Division biologists, in cooperation with the NJ Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, reintroduced wild turkeys in 1977 with the release of 22 birds. In 1979 biologists and technicians began to live-trap and re-locate birds to establish populations throughout the state. By 1981 the population was able to support a spring hunting season, and in December, 1997, a limited fall season was initiated.
There is now an abundance of wild turkeys throughout the state with turkeys found wherever there is suitable habitat. In South Jersey, where wild turkeys had been struggling just a few years ago, intensive restoration efforts have improved population numbers significantly. The statewide population is now estimated at 20,000 – 23,000 turkeys with an annual harvest of approximately 3,000 birds.
The Division’s Outdoor Women of NJ and R3 Programs are partnering with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors Program to offer two educational turkey hunting opportunities for women 18 years and older.
A virtual turkey hunting workshop, April 12-26, will pair video content with virtual meetings where participants learn the ins and outs of turkey hunting in New Jersey. This workshop is for women who have never hunted to life-long hunters.
Workshop Information (pdf)
Register NOW! (pdf)
An Outdoor Women of NJ Mentored Turkey Hunt will be held May 1-3, 2022 at the Landis Sewerage Authority in Vineland, NJ. Applicants selected to participate in this hunt must participate in the virtual portion of the workshop.
Workshop Information (pdf)
Apply NOW! (pdf)