January 27, 2013

Help sought for turkey project

The American wild turkey is the most sought after, legally protected small-game species in New York State. In fact, come this May, more than 100,000 New York turkey hunters will set out in pursuit of a legal “bearded” turkey.

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) limits spring season hunters to harvesting only bearded turkeys for good reason. Beards, which may look like hair, are actually clumps of coarse feathers, which are characteristically used to determine the sex, age and condition of individual birds. Although a small percentage of females (hens) grow them, they are generally characteristic of males (toms or gobblers).

Research has shown that, in most cases, you can maintain a healthy turkey population even after eliminating a large percentage of toms from the flock. Since the spring season occurs after most hens have been bred, and almost all bearded turkeys are toms, the spring turkey harvest has very little impact on the next generation. In fact, a recent Virginia Tech study looked at the timing of turkey hunting seasons across the northeast and found that New York’s spring season was perfectly timed based on available data for breeding and nesting turkeys in our region.

DEC wildlife managers remain committed to safeguarding the long-term health of wild-turkey populations and to providing ample opportunities for turkey hunting while preserving a sustainable harvest. They know that the long-term security and maintenance of our state’s wild-turkey population is directly tied to minimizing the risk of overharvesting. They know as well that a particularly cold or snowy winter can appreciably affect wild-turkey populations, especially when it comes to the survival of young birds (jakes and jennies) and that populations may also be dramatically reduced by predation, disease and poaching. But more study is needed to fully understand trends in turkey abundance and distribution and how weather, habitat, changing landscapes and various other factors affect turkey populations and impact harvest.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Gast_Richard.jpg Bee balm a beautiful garden herb

    Not only to the flowers add color to the summer landscape, the plant has a long history of medicinal and herbal use, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Drip irrigation has many benefits

    The system targets the correct amount of moisture directly to plants while not washing away nutrients, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Climate assessment a cautionary tale

    Major impacts of global warming will have a profound impact on the region's future, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Be a locavore

    Farmers markets offer easy way to support local agriculture, maintain a nutritious diet, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Raised-bed gardening workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension may have a better way to conveniently grow vegetables, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Asparagus offers a taste of spring

    Cultivation of widely grown delicacy goes back to ancient times, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo