John McCaslin

Did you shoot your Thanksgiving turkey this year?

Word is more wild turkeys are to be had in North America - and more Americans are hunting them.

The National Wild Turkey Federation says with Thanksgiving upon us, there's no better time to celebrate the comeback of the wild turkey. As recently as the early 1900s, it says, turkeys like certain other wildlife "teetered on the brink of extinction."

In those years, the wild turkey population in North America hovered around 30,000. But now, thanks to federal and state conservation measures, wild turkeys have steadily increased in number and expanded their range.

"Today, wildlife biologists estimate that close to 7 million wild turkeys roam the fields and forests of North America making it perhaps the greatest conservation success story of the 20th century," says the NWTF.

Meanwhile, after a downward spiral, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reports the number of paid hunting license holders in America is rising. The number of resident licenses, tags, permits and stamps issued in 2004 increased 4.1 percent over 2003 to 33.1 million, while the nonresident quantity posted at more than 3 million, a jump of 5.6 percent over 2003.

Currently, hunting license holders represent about 5 percent of the U.S. population, far less than the 16.8 million - just over 9 percent of the U.S. population - of the mid-1980s, when hunting numbers peaked in America.

SLICED SCOOTER

"Don't let George Bush pardon this turkey." - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, referring to former White House senior aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and rumors buzzing around Washington that the president will pardon him and others involved in the CIA leak case.

THANKSGIVING

Lord, we ask of you a boon:
To bless our guests this noon.
We're so grateful they
Could come today -
And have to leave real soon!

- F.R. Duplantier

YOU THERE, BILL?

"Is there any chance your source was Bill Casey being channeled from the dead?" - One of 15 questions political observer Arianna Huffington says she would like to ask Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who now claims he, too, was told by a source of Valerie Plame's CIA connection. Woodward came under scrutiny for his so-called deathbed interview with former CIA Director William J. Casey, a conversation several investigative journalists claim he fabricated.

GOING PLACES


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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