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Idaho State News

Fish and Game Wants to Know If You’ve Seen Any Turkeys Lately

R Phillips
July 7, 2024

Survey will allow F&G to spot trends in turkey populations over years.

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IDAHO – Idaho Fish and Game is launching a new project — Turkey Tracker — to learn more about the state’s turkey population. The agency is asking people to spot and record wild turkeys on Fish and Game’s website especially during July and August when hens are with young ones.

The annual turkey survey will rely solely on people reporting turkey sightings, including how many birds were spotted and in what county they were seen. Reporters also have the option of downloading photos of the birds, but photos are not required to report sightings. Turkey trackers can also download an app to report sightings.

“The purpose of this annual survey is to monitor wild turkey reproduction and population dynamics throughout the state,” said Jeff Knetter, Fish and Game Upland Game and Migratory Game Bird Coordinator. “Reports obtained will help managers monitor trends in turkey reproduction and populations, which will help us make management recommendations so we can sustain wild turkey populations in Idaho.”

Prior to this, Fish and Game did not have a formal population survey for wild turkeys. This survey provides two important types of information:

  1. July and August brood survey
    A brood survey provides information on productivity, which is the number of surviving offspring produced in a population. A brood consists of at least one adult hen with young (poult). Summer brood survival is a primary driver of population trends. This survey will help determine average brood sizes, the percentage of hens with poults, and a ratio of the total number of offspring to the total number of hens.
  2. Year-round distribution survey
    This provides an assessment of where birds are located, which helps wildlife managers track habitat use throughout the year and if turkey range is expanding or contracting.

“We’re excited about this new project, and we really hope people throughout Idaho will be too,” Knetter said. “It’s a fun and simple way to make a big difference for the state’s wild turkey flocks, and people can help wildlife managers better understand these unique and interesting birds.”

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