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Pennsylvania Wild Turkey

 

Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo
Season and Limit: See Seasons and Bag Limits

August Turkey Sighting Survey - We need your help!

This citizen-science opportunity is helping to analyze spring turkey production. Thank you for participating. Complete the 2018 survey online or download the mobile app from the iOS App Store or Google Play.

Turkey Survey App

View 2017 survey results.       View 2016 survey results.

The August Turkey Sighting Survey estimates the average number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen (hens with poults + hens without poults, which are hens that did not raise a brood) statewide and by Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). This ratio provides another means of tracking total reproduction for the summer (in addition to sightings by game wardens that have been collected since 1953) and compare it to that of other Northeastern states conducting the same type of citizen-science turkey surveys to provide a regional view of wild turkey reproductive trends. It also helps predict fall harvest potential.

In 2017 the public provided 19,617 turkey sightings, down from 30,184 in 2016. The average number of poults per all hens was 2.3, slightly lower than 2016 (2.4). This was below New York’s August Survey results of 2.5; New York’s results were the lowest since 2009. The decline can be attributed to the above-average rainfall in May and June, which likely negatively impacted nest and poult success. Recruitment is also impacted by poor habitat, such as lack of brood-rearing habitat, and/or a poor mix of habitats, which makes turkeys more susceptible to cold, wet weather, and predation. Reproductive success varied tremendously by WMU.

Other Highlights from 2017:
o   Recruitment of other northeastern states was generally close to or below the 5-year average.
o   Recruitment index ranged from 1.2 poults per hen (WMU 2A) to 4.6 (WMU 4A).
 
Turkey sightings table 
  

Provide Comments on the New Turkey Plan thru Aug. 31

The new 2018-2027 Wild Turkey Management Plan (PDF) focuses on developing population models for each wildlife management unit (WMU). The models will predict turkey population responses to changes in harvest regulations and help identify optimal harvest regulations to maximize both turkey populations and hunter opportunities. Increasing habitat and assessing turkey diseases and hunter participation are also priorities. View the plan at the link above. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 31, 2018 at WildTurkeyComments@pa.gov.

Hunting

 

Resources

 

Reference

The Role of Turkey Seasons in Turkey Population Management - A 2016 Game Commission Webinar (36:01)
 

Research

 

Gobbler Study

From 2006 to 2009, the Game Commission was involved in a multi-state research study to investigate spring gobbler harvest rates in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. This study involved leg-banding 900 male turkeys each winter (300 per state) and determining the percentage harvested each year during the spring gobbler season (via hunters reporting harvests of leg-banded males).

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Related Links

National Wild Turkey Federation