I Am Thankful

By Sharee Miller


Fog and chill this time of year

I am thankful for some family cheer


Masked and quarantined we wait

I am thankful for a healthy slate


In small groups or virtually

I am thankful for the company


Laughter, football, and parade

I am thankful for traditions made


Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie

I’ll be thankful for some exercise


Things will change this time around

Still thankfulness and love abound

Local youth show off their turkey artistry

Collin Amato age 8. Turkey Drawing. Submitted by Nikki Fairbrother

Paisley Jacobson Age 5. Turkey Drawing
Submitted by Nikki Fairbrother.

Brooks Grotjohn, Age 3. Turkey drawing.
Submitted by Erin Grotjohn

Maverick Grotjohn, Age 5. Turkey Drawing
Submitted by Erin Grotjohn


Merriam’s Wild

By Brian Baxter

Although Merriam’s Wild Turkey is not native to Montana, to some hunters it is one of the most coveted upland game birds. This species of wild turkey was named by Dr. E.W. Nelson in 1900 in honor of C. Hart Merriam, the first chief of the U.S. Biological Survey. It’s generally found in ponderosa pine forests, and the birds historical range was the western mountainous regions of northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. However, this large, colorful, and extremely tough bird has been successfully transplanted into pine forest habitats and other vegetation types from elevations of 2,500 to 8,000 feet. States in which transplanted populations of Merriam’s turkey are doing well include Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana.

Generally speaking, these hardy birds tend to move into ponderosa pine stands in mid to late fall, and may winter there. Even though they are about the same size as the Eastern variety, the Merriam has different color patterns. It’s black with blue, purple, and bronze highlights. It also has white feathers on the lower back, and they appear to have a white rump due to pinkish buff, or whitish tail coverts and tips. Tom’s have black tipped breast feathers, while hens have buff colored tips. Items noted in food habit studies include insects, grasshoppers, grains, seeds, snowberry, chokecherry, bearberry, black hawthorn fruits, wild rose hips, ponderosa pine seeds, juniper berries, elk sedge, and some small amounts of buds, twigs, and mosses. (Beverly J.Ross). Fall hunting season runs Sept. 1 to Jan. 1 for either sex wild turkey. For specifics on regulations see 2020 Turkey Final for web file on the fwp.mt. gov site. Happy Thanksgiving and remember to appreciate it if you are able to share this Holiday with your family.