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DNR to offer wild turkey forum next week in Marquette

Wildlife Through Forestry series of special events continues

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will continue its popular Wildlife Through Forestry series of special events next week with a turkey forum being presented in Marquette Township.

“Wild turkeys have long been established in southern parts of the Upper Peninsula but have been expanding their range north in increasing numbers over recent years,” said Gary Willis, a DNR service forest in Baraga and organizer of the popular wildlife forum series. “People are seeing wild turkeys in remote locations, even in heavy snow zones like those in Keweenaw County – the region’s northernmost county. Our upcoming forum will discuss this expansion and answer numerous questions often posed by the public.”

The forum will be held from 6-9 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Marquette Township Hall, located a 1000 Commerce Drive. The event will also be livestreamed via Zoom.

Pam Nankervis is pictured with a turtle. (Photo courtesy of Pam Nankervis)

The forum will feature three wildlife biologists: Pam Nankervis, habitat biologist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Ottawa National Forest, Jim Hammill, a wildlife biologist consultant and Safari Club International biologist and Ryan McGillviray, DNR wildlife biologist and wild turkey specialist.

Together, during the first half of the event, the biologists will delve into the adaptive traits and environmental factors that are making this wild turkey range expansion possible. Which factors are driving this migration north? How are wild turkeys surviving in heavy snow cover?

During the second half of the forum, McGillviray will talk turkey hunting techniques based on his many years of traveling around the country in pursuit of turkeys. He will demonstrate decoy layout and calling techniques, while entertaining questions from those in attendance.

Prizes will be awarded for first correct answer to pop-up questions.

“This event is the latest in a fascinating series of ‘Wildlife Through Forestry’ forums held in the western Upper Peninsula since 2017,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These sessions link wildlife topics to the numerous ways habitat for birds and animals may be developed and enhanced for a range of species on private lands.”

Each of these sessions has included a presentation on an interesting and important wildlife-related topic, with additional information provided to private landowners on the value of a Forest Management Plan.

Jim Hammill is pictured at a Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup meeting in Ishpeming.

“We want to get folks fired up about sound resource management so that they establish a family legacy with their forest ownership,” Willis said. “We want to show folks the importance of working closely with a resource professional to accomplish their goals and objectives for ownership. We also want folks to have a good time getting together to discuss topics of interest to us all.”

A panel of resource professionals will be on hand at the forum to discuss the development, preparation and implementation of Forest Stewardship Plans.

More than 150 professional foresters and 20 wildlife biologists develop Forest Stewardship Plans for forest landowners in Michigan.

For information about these plans or the Commercial Forest Program, contact Gary Willis, DNR Service Forester, 427 U.S. 41 North, Baraga, Michigan, 49908; 906-353-6651, ext. 207-0122 or

Conservation districts in many Michigan counties have foresters available for a free site visit to private landowner properties. They can discuss landowner wildlife habitat and forestry goals and help decide if there are financial assistance programs that can provide cost sharing for resource management plan preparation and implementation.

In Marquette and Alger counties, contact forester Sara Kelso at 906-236-9484 or call the Marquette County Conservation District office at 906-226-8871, ext. 3071.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, unless otherwise noted.

Hammill: Jim Hammill, a wildlife biologist consultant and Safari Club International biologist, is pictured from an Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup meeting.

McGillviray: Ryan McGillviray, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist and wild turkey specialist, is shown with a wild turkey he harvested.

Nankervis: Pam Nankervis, habitat biologist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Ottawa National Forest, is pictured with a turtle. (Photo courtesy Pam Nankervis)

Contact: Gary Willis, 906-353-6651, ext. ext. 207-0122 or John Pepin, 906-226-1352