HomeState of NHTell Fish and Game about Your Winter Wild Turkey Sightings Today

Tell Fish and Game about Your Winter Wild Turkey Sightings Today

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking the public to report their wild turkey sightings this winter by participating in the 2024 Winter Turkey Flock Survey, which runs through March 31. Information about the status of wintering wild turkeys is very important because severe weather and limited natural food supplies can present serious challenges for turkeys. It’s fun and easy to participate by visiting www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkey.html.

“A total of 835 flocks were reported from across the state during the 2023 Winter Turkey Flock Survey, with 15,098 turkeys recorded and an average of 18 turkeys per flock,” said Allison Keating, New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Turkey Project Leader. “That was a slight increase from 2022 when a total of 772 flocks and 13,201 turkeys were reported. The increase in sightings last winter may have been the result of more birds being drawn to backyard bird feeders due to a lack of natural food available. The fall of 2022 was not a good year for the production of acorns or beechnuts, two staple mast crops that support turkeys during the winter months.”

The lack of food in 2022 was followed by one of the rainiest years on record in 2023. The wet weather during the spring and summer contributed to hens re-nesting, poults hatching later than usual, lower breeding productivity, and reduced recruitment of juvenile turkeys into local populations. The rainy pattern that characterized the spring and summer continued into the fall with December also being one of the rainiest months on record. “The mild winter so far benefits the turkey population,” said Keating. “Deep snow for prolonged periods of time can make it difficult for turkeys to travel and find food and water during the winter. The observations people share through the online survey greatly add to the Department’s understanding of the abundance, distribution, and survival rates of turkeys through the winter in New Hampshire and we are very appreciative that people take the time.”

The Department also continues to monitor the prevalence of two viruses that are present in the wild turkey population: avian pox and lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV). The public is asked to keep an eye out this winter for any turkeys displaying lesions or wart-like protuberances on their head or neck areas and to report these observations through the online survey.

Wild turkey management and research is made possible by the federal Wildlife Restoration Program, which is funded by an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

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