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For Release: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DEC Seeks Landowners to Assist with Wild Turkey Research

Wild Turkey Survival Study to Begin in January; Findings Will Help Assess Fall Season Changes

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the kickoff of the fourth year of a research project on wild turkey survival rates to help improve the management of this popular game bird.

"DEC and its partners have worked hard over the past three years to better understand why wild turkey populations have changed dramatically in New York," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "This project will provide valuable information on turkey survival and harvest and will help evaluate the changes to fall hunting seasons implemented in 2016. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property this winter to consider participating in this study."

Studies have shown that wild turkey populations over the past 15 years have declined in many parts of New York State. In an effort to better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the final year of a four-year study. This project will help guide management efforts and provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens.

Beginning in January, DEC will embark on a statewide effort to capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands to obtain accurate data on survival and harvest. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio-transmitters. All of the work will be done by DEC personnel on both public and private lands from January through March. The research will be concentrated in DEC Regions 3 through 9.

DEC is looking for landowners in DEC Regions 3 through 9 interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land, as well as alerting project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released at the same location. Not all locations are suitable for deploying capture equipment, so landowners should contact their regional project coordinator to discuss the suitability of their property. Observations of turkey flocks during January through March can be reported to the project coordinator for that region or can be reported using the Winter Flock Survey form found on DEC's website.

For more information on this project, contact the regional project coordinator below or DEC by e-mail at wildlife@dec.ny.gov. "Turkey Study" should be listed as the subject line in any e-mails.

Interested landowners should contact the project coordinator for their region listed below:

DEC Region Project Coordinator Counties
3 Jonathan Russell (845) 256‑3087 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 21 South Putt Corners Rd. New Paltz, NY 12561 Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester
4 Karl Parker (518) 357‑2154 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 1150 N. Westcott Rd. Schenectady, NY 12306 Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie
5 Melissa Neely (518) 623‑1273 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife Hudson St. Extension Warrensburg, NY 12885 Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington
6 Jeff Eller (315) 785‑2262 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 317 Washington St. Watertown, NY 13601 Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, and St. Lawrence
7 Lance Clark (607) 753‑3095 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 1285 Fisher Ave. Cortland, NY 13045 Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga, and Tompkins
8 Scott Smith (607) 776‑2165 (ext. 16) NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 7291 Coon Rd. Bath, NY 14810 Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates
9 Emilio Rende (716) 372‑0645 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 182 E. Union St. Allegany, NY 14706 Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara, and Wyoming
Central Office Michael Schiavone (518) 402‑8886 NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife 625 Broadway, 5thFloor Albany, NY 12233‑4754 Statewide Coordination
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