BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department needs help in monitoring the wild turkey population and is asking people to provide information about turkey families they see in Vermont during August.
Starting Aug. 1, a turkey brood survey will be on the department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). The survey allows entry of the number of adult male, adult female and young turkeys, or poults, as well as the date, time and location of the observations. The data provided will help establish long-term trends in wild turkey population recruitment and contribute to good wildlife management decisions. The information will help reveal the impacts of spring and winter weather on the survival of poults and adult turkeys.
Records from the late 1700s and early 1800s indicate 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. The 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 Fish & Wildlife Department biologists released the first 17 wild-trapped New York turkeys in Pawlet in 1969. A second release of 14 wild birds was made in Hubbardston in 1970. Today, Vermont’s
Vermont has excellent spring and fall turkey hunting across most of the state. Turkey hunting benefits the people of Vermont by providing hunting opportunity, an excellent source of healthy food, economic activity and a means of controlling turkey numbers. Over abundant turkey populations can result in nuisance situations when crops or other properties are damaged by turkeys. Up to 6,000 wild turkeys are harvested annually in Vermont.