For you turkey hunters or wildlife lovers, the Game Commission again is seeking help from the public in surveying wild turkeys in August to get a handle on production statewide.
The third-annual Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Sighting Survey begins Aug. 1.
Through the month of August, turkey sighting reports can be made at www.pgc.pa.gov by clicking on “August Turkey Sighting Survey” in the Quick Clicks section, or through the Game Commission mobile app available at the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. To report through the app, select “Turkey Sighting Survey.”
The public is encouraged to report any turkeys observed during August. Information submitted helps the agency analyze spring turkey production. Participants are requested to record the number of wild turkeys they see, along with the general location, date and contact information should agency biologists have any questions.
“The turkey survey enhances our agency’s internal survey, which serves as a long-term index of turkey reproduction,” explained Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist. “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.”
Many factors including spring weather, habitat, previous winter-food abundance, predation and last fall’s harvest affect wild turkey productivity. The 2017 statewide turkey population was about 216,800, which is similar to the previous five-year average. Pennsylvania’s turkey population in the early 2000s reached its peak of about 280,000 birds because of agency restoration efforts through wild trap-and-transfer efforts, 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.
“Every turkey-sighting report made to the Game Commission during August helps to improve wild turkey conservation in the Keystone State,” Casalena emphasized.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.