Turkey hen with poults 8/2/18

(CTN file photo)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — September’s arrival ended the Pennsylvania Game Commission survey on wild turkey sightings, but participants can report their July and August sightings through Sept. 6.

Reports must be filed online, either by visiting www.pgc.pa.gov and clicking on “August Turkey Sighting Survey” in the Quick Clicks section, or through mobile apps available at the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. To find the app, search for “Pennsylvania Game Commission,” then select Turkey Sighting Survey.

Participants are requested to report the number of wild turkeys seen, along with the general location, date and contact information if agency biologists have any questions. Reports must be from sightings between July 1 and Aug. 31.

Specific location information is not shared or stored and is used solely to help determine the county, township and wildlife management unit of each sighting. 

“The turkey survey enhances our agency’s internal survey, which serves as a long-term index of turkey reproduction,” said Mary Jo Casalena, agency wild turkey biologist, via new release. “By reporting all turkeys seen during each sighting, whether it’s gobblers, hens with broods or hens without broods, the data help us determine total productivity and allow us to compare long-term reproductive success with other northeastern states.”

Many factors affect wild turkey productivity, including spring weather, habitat, previous winter-food abundance, predation and last fall’s harvest.

The 2019 statewide spring turkey population was about 212,200, which is 8% below 2018’s total of 228,800 birds, but similar to the previous 3-year average.

Pennsylvania’s turkey population in the early 2000s reached its peak of about 280,000 birds as a result of restoration efforts through wild trap-and-transfer, habitat improvement, and fall-turkey-hunting-season restrictions.

It then declined sharply to levels below 200,000. Since 2011 it has been fluctuating between 204,000 and 234,000, depending on summer reproduction and fall harvest.

“Remember, every summer turkey-sighting reported to the Game Commission helps to improve wild turkey conservation in the Keystone State,” Casalena said.

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