DEC seeks help for wild turkey research

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
N.Y. 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.

A third year of a research project on wild turkey survival to help improve the management  of this popular game bird will kick off in January, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has announced.

Wild turkey populations have changed dramatically in New York over the past decade, Martens said.  “This project will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and harvest to help guide management of this important game species. I encourage landowners who 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 State. To better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the third year of a four-year study. This project will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens, in New York and guide management efforts.

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, across the state from the Hudson Valley to North Country and Western New York.

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: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48756.html.

Region 8  (Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates Counties)

Scott Smith

607-776 2165 (ext. 16)

NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife

7291 Coon Rd.

Bath, NY 14810