Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Citizen scientists provide important data that helps our biologists examine how factors such as weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons impact turkey survival.
Turkey populations in New York State peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, over the past decade, turkey productivity has consistently been below average, leading to lower populations.
Since 1996, the DEC has conducted the annual Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to track wild turkey populations and estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. This index allows the DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict future turkey populations and harvest opportunities.
The DEC uses reported observations of wild turkeys to track annual productivity over time and in different parts of the state. User-submitted data also helps wildlife managers forecast hunting prospects for the coming fall season and subsequent spring seasons.
To submit turkey observations, citizen scientists are encouraged to use DEC’s online form: