Fish and Game seeks wild turkey reports

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking for the public’s help in tracking wild turkey broods in New Hampshire. If you observe groups of turkeys with young through August, report your sightings on Fish and Game’s web-based turkey brood survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016_Brood_Survey.

"People enjoy participating, and by doing so, they are helping us monitor the turkey population," said Kent A. Gustafson, Fish and Game Wildlife Programs supervisor. "We get reports from all over the state through this survey, adding to the important information biologists gather on turkey productivity, distribution, abundance, turkey brood survival and the timing of nesting and hatching."

In 2015, summer brood survey participants reported seeing a record number of 2,202 broods. The average hatch date statewide in 2015 was June 19.

The term "brood" refers to a family group of young turkeys accompanied by a hen. New Hampshire hens generally begin laying eggs sometime from mid-April to early May and complete their clutch of about 12 eggs in early to mid-May. Incubation lasts for 28 days, and most eggs hatch from late May to mid-June. If incubating turkey eggs are destroyed or consumed by predators, hens often lay a replacement clutch of eggs that hatch late June through late July.

Young turkeys are extremely sensitive to cool temperatures and rain because it can affect their health and because these conditions adversely affect insect populations that are a critical source of nutrition for young turkeys.

Turkey populations depend on a large annual influx of young turkeys to sustain themselves over time, so the number of young turkeys that survive to be "recruited" into the fall population is of great interest to turkey managers. A large sample of turkey brood observations collected throughout the summer can provide turkey managers with insight into the size of the "graduating class" of turkeys that will become adults.

For more information about the survey, visit www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkeybrood.html.