The Game Commission needs the public’s help in monitoring flocks of wild turkeys

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking for the public’s help in locating turkeys for ongoing and new turkey surveillance projects.

People have until March 15 to report the location of flocks of turkeys they see. Information is collected online at https://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/TurkeyBroodSurvey.

Visitors to this website are asked to provide information including the date of the sighting, the location and the type of land – public, private or unknown – where birds are being seen.

Game Commission teams will review sites for potential for turkey trapping. Turkeys are not moved. They are bandaged on their legs and released on the spot.

In four wildlife management units, some turkeys are fitted with GPS tags and then released for monitoring over time.

Winter turkey capture is part of the Wildlife Commission’s ongoing population monitoring and the launch of a large-scale hen study.

The Wildlife Commission will place leg bands on male turkeys nationwide. Hunters who catch one of these turkeys, or people who find one dead, are asked to report the tape number by calling the toll-free number or emailing the address on the tape.

“This gives us information about the annual survival rates and annual spring harvest rates for our population model,” said Mary Jo Casalena, the wildlife commission’s turkey biologist.

The studies are being conducted in partnership with Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Futures Program.

Each summer, an average of more than 3,800 people submit their reports to the Wild Turkey Sighting Survey.

“The public has been so helpful over the past few years,” Casalena said. “So we thought we’d expand on that and ask for help locating winter swarms across the state.”

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