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DEC Seeks Landowners to Assist with Wild Turkey Research

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the kickoff of the fourth year of a research project on wild turkey survival rates to help improve the management of this popular game bird.

“DEC and its partners have worked hard over the past three years to better understand why wild turkey populations have changed dramatically in New York,” Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “This project will provide valuable information on turkey survival and harvest and will help evaluate the changes to fall hunting seasons implemented in 2016. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property this winter to consider participating in this study.”

Studies have shown that wild turkey populations over the past 15 years have declined in many parts of New York State. In an effort to better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the final year of a four-year study. This project will help guide management efforts and provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens.

Beginning in January, DEC will embark on 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. The research will be concentrated in DEC Regions 3 through 9.

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.

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