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DEC asks for public’s help in annual wild turkey count

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging residents who’ve spotted wild turkeys this August to report their findings.

Every summer, DEC undertakes the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to evaluate the number of poults (young turkeys) each turkey hen produces statewide. The data collected helps the DEC assess the reproductive success of wild turkeys and forecast the potential fall harvest for the sought-after game bird.

Participants are only required to count the turkeys and indicate details such as the number of adult males, adult females, poults, and turkeys of undetermined age or gender. Repeated reports of the same flock are discouraged to avoid data distortion. The DEC recorded 2,268 turkey flock sightings in last year’s survey, a significant uptick from 2021.

However, recent findings suggest a decline in wild turkey reproductive success compared to the 1996 inception of the survey and the early 2000s. Hunters may need to refine their strategies if 2023 trends mirror previous years. The DEC has made past survey outcomes available on their website and encourages residents to partake in this year’s count via a provided form.