Vermont 5th Annual Turkey Brood Survey Began August 1st

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The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s fifth annual on-line wild turkey brood survey with input from the public begins on August 1.

"If you see wild turkeys in August, please help us by reporting your sightings in the online turkey brood survey," said Director of Wildlife Mark Scott. "The data you provide will help answer questions concerning the impacts of winter and spring weather on the survival of poults and adult turkeys and help us learn about survival of young."

The turkey brood survey will be on the department’s website www.vtfishandwildlife.com, starting August 1. The survey allows entry of the number of adult male turkeys, adult females and poults as well as the date, time and location of the observations.

Scott says the information will be helpful in setting turkey hunting seasons and harvest limits that are designed to manage the turkey population.

Records from the late 1700s and early 1800s reveal that wild turkeys were present in southern Vermont in smaller numbers than today. At the time of European settlement, most turkeys existed along the Taconic Mountain Range in southwestern Vermont and along the Connecticut River Valley in southeastern Vermont. Loss of forestland and unregulated market hunting in the early 19th century led to the elimination of Vermont's wild turkeys by the mid-1800s.

Vermont released the first 17 wild trapped New York turkeys in Pawlet, Vermont in 1969, in order to restore Vermont's wild turkey population. A second release of 14 wild birds in was made in Hubbardton in 1970. Today, Vermont’s wild turkey population is estimated to number more than 50,000 birds. All of these are believed to directly descend from the original 31 New York wild turkeys. Wild turkeys are now found throughout Vermont.

Vermont has excellent turkey hunting across most of the state with 5,000 to 6,000 turkeys normally taken each year. Turkey hunting provides hunting opportunity, economic activity and a mechanism to control turkey numbers.

"This is your chance to contribute to the scientific management of Vermont’s turkey population," said Scott. "Please help by providing information about the turkey broods you observe in August."