Allison Keating (603) 352-9669
Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-1742
January 3, 2022
Concord, New Hampshire – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking the public to report wild turkey sightings this winter by participating in the 2022 Winter Turkey Flock Survey. The survey began on January 1 and will continue until March 31. Information on the condition of wintering wild turkeys is very important as extreme weather conditions and limited natural food supplies can present serious challenges for turkeys. It’s fun and easy to participate by visiting www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkey.html.
In 2021, 1,383 reports were received statewide for the Winter Turkey Flock Survey, with 24,259 registered turkeys, with an average of 17.54 turkeys per flock. “Last winter’s results were lower than 2019, when the survey collected 2,309 reports of flocks totaling 40,476 turkeys,” said Allison Keating, turkey project manager for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “2019 and 2020 presented much better survey results than in 2018, when only 486 flocks totaling 9,833 birds were reported. The increase in sighting reports during the winters of 2020 and 2021 may be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people were at home and could observe wildlife. “
The average number of turkeys in a flock reported statewide in 2020 was 17.54, which is almost identical to the 2019 winter survey average of 17.53 turkeys per flock. During the winter turkey herd survey of 2021, the Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) M in the southern part of the state reported the highest number of herds (298), followed by WMU L (198) and WMU J2 (189). UGF M and J2 also reported high concentrations of turkeys in 2019.
The highest percentage of feeding observed occurred in backyard bird feeders (63%). Twenty-one percent of the turkeys ate acorns and beechnuts, while 15% ate corn and grains, and 1% ate apples or crabapples.
Public attitudes towards winter wild turkey flocks continue to be very favorable: 91.1% of respondents indicated that they like or very much like to see wild turkeys, 7.3% of people neither like nor don’t. dislike turkeys, while 1.59% of participants dislike or dislike turkeys at all.
“A lot of people just love to see turkeys in the landscape because their presence is part of what makes New Hampshire unique,” Keating said. “The observations people are sharing via the online survey add significantly to the Ministry’s understanding of turkey abundance, distribution, and survival rates during the winter months here in Granite State.”
The Department also continues to monitor the prevalence of two viruses present in the wild turkey population: fowl pox and lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV). The public is urged to watch for any turkeys with wart-like lesions or protuberances on the heads or necks of any turkeys they see this winter and report these sightings through the online survey.
During the winter of 2021, turkeys with visible lesions, possibly indicative of fowl pox or LPDV, were reported in 10 towns in 6 different FMUs. These results are similar to those in winter 2019, when reports were published in 11 cities and 5 UGFs. Overall, reports of symptomatic turkeys remain low.
To learn more about these viruses, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/turkeys/turkey-virus.html.
Wild turkeys have disappeared from the New Hampshire landscape for over a century due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss from extensive land clearing in the 1800s. Their recovery in the state began during the 1800s. winter 1975 when 25 turkeys were trapped in New York and transferred to Walpole, NH. As this initial population increased, turkeys were trapped and transferred to various locations throughout the state until 1995. Today New Hampshire has a robust turkey population estimated at 45,000 birds in statewide. Wild turkey management and research is made possible by the Federal Wildlife Restoration Program, which is funded by an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition and shooting equipment. ‘bow.