Turkeys Illegally Dumped at Key Pittman Wildlife Management Area

Alamo, NV: The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is seeking the public’s help in identifying two individuals responsible for illegally releasing approximately 25 turkeys onto the Key Pittman Wildlife Management Area on April 9, 2024.

Game wardens were called to the Key Pittman WMA, about 110 miles north of Las Vegas along the Great Basin Highway, where staff had found more than two dozen turkeys at the south end of Nesbit Lake on the WMA. The wardens were able to locate a witness that saw a white truck with a crew cab towing a horse trailer heading in that direction.

During their investigation, game wardens were able to track down security footage (see attached photos) at a local convenience store that shows the truck and trailer stopping for gas before heading north on U.S. Route 93 at 1 p.m. The video shows a large dent on the passenger side door. Unfortunately, the video does not have a clear view of the license plate or the persons in question. Game wardens believe the suspects are from Clark County as they arrived from the south and headed back the same way. NDOW is asking for anyone who might recognize the vehicle or the person to contact the Department.

“Our hope is that someone might have seen or heard something or might recognize the vehicle from the photo. Any information could be key to this investigation,” said Game Warden Lieutenant John Anderson. “At this time of year those turkeys would have been making a whole lot of noise. Maybe there’s a neighbor who notices a sudden drop in noise coming from over the fence. You never know what might be helpful.”

Anyone with any information can contact NDOW through the Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 992-3030 or by using the NDOW Tip app. The NDOW Tip app provides citizens the ability to submit anonymous tips, photos, or video to the Nevada Department of Wildlife via text messaging. NDOW Tip is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the agency’s website at www.ndow.org.

Game Division Administrator Shawn Espinosa is quick to point out all the things that could go bad by releasing animals into the wild. “The birds released were likely either domestic turkeys or wild turkeys that have been fed by humans and habituated. That  brings up a myriad of concerns not the least of which is disease,” said Espinosa. “They could have any number of diseases that could be devastating to the wild bird population in the area.”

Espinosa also explains that domestic or habituated turkeys have no idea how to survive in the wild as they have been pen raised and/or fed by humans their entire life. If left in the wild, they would likely wind-up succumbing to the elements or be eaten by predators.

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