State asks for help from North Country landowners in wild turkey survey
Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 4:49 pm

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking landowners in St. Lawrence County and elsewhere to help count wild turkeys for its second year of research on the bird’s survival.

The study is designed to help improve the management of this popular game bird.

“Wild turkeys are the most popular small game species in New York among hunters afield,” Commissioner Joseph Martens said. “The data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this important game species. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property this winter to consider participating in this study.”

Over the past 10 years wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of New York. In an effort to better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the second year of a four-year study.

The project will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens, in New York and guide future management efforts.

In January, DEC will begin a statewide effort to capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands to obtain accurate data on survival and harvest. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio-transmitters. All of the work will be done by DEC personnel on both public and private lands from January through March.

DEC is looking for landowners in DEC Regions 3 through 9 interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land, as well as alerting project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released at the same location. Not all locations are suitable for deploying capture equipment, so landowners should contact their regional project coordinator to discuss the suitability of their property.

Observations of turkey flocks during January through March can be reported to the project coordinator for that region or can be reported using the Winter Flock Survey form found on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48756.html.

For more information on this project, contact the regional project coordinator below or DEC by e-mail at fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us. “Turkey Study” should be listed as the subject line in any e-mails.