Where are all the wild turkeys going?
That question has forced New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials to launch a wild turkey survival study to pinpoint the source of the state’s turkey population decline over the last decade.
The four-year research project will begin this month with the goal of improving the management of wild turkeys, the most popular small game species in the state.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens is encouraging landowners that have wild turkey on their property to consider participating in the study so researchers can better understand the turkey dilemma.
“The data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this important game species,” he said in a statement.
The DEC expects the study to provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female turkeys.
The statewide effort will require researchers to capture wild hens and fit them with leg bands to generate data on survival and harvest. Some will be attached with satellite radio transmitters, officials said.
The project by DEC personnel will be conducted on public and private lands until March.
Between 2006 and 2009, the state was able to gather information about male wild turkeys with the help of landowners from across the state. The DEC is hoping for similar participation.