A collaborative effort between the SJIHAA and the MNR lead to a project to introduce wild turkeys to St. Joseph Island. Everything finally came together and in January of 2004 the first birds were brought up from southern Ontario and released by a dedicated bunch of volunteers. Additional birds were released in February 2004 and a final release of 20 birds was made on January 20th 2005. In total 84 wild turkeys were released on St. Joseph Island at 3 separate sites (see table below). Following the release members of the public as well as deer hunters coming into the deer check station were asked to provide information about turkey sightings.
In the following years based on information from sightings and MNR district surveys it was evident that the population of wild turkey on St. Joseph Island had dispersed from the original release sites, and successful reproduction was occurring. By 2008 only four years after the initial release of wild turkeys on the island the MNR determined that all of the criteria had been met to open a spring hunting season for WMU 45.