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Delaware seeking volunteers to count wild turkeys for 2010 survey

From the Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

-- Volunteer birdwatchers are needed to assist the Delaware DNREC with an annual productivity survey on the location and number of wild turkeys in the state.

The data will help biologists track the health, distribution and reproductive success of the state's wild turkeys with the goal of ensuring a sustainable harvest of this treasured game species.

Currently the state has a thriving wild turkey population that allows for an annual turkey season, but this was not always the case. The reintroduction of the wild turkey in 1984, nearly 200 years after it became locally extinct, remains one of the Division's greatest success stories.

In early 1984, with support from the National Wild Turkey Federation, biologists released 34 wild-trapped turkeys from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vermont into Sussex and Kent counties. Reintroductions continued through the 1990s, and once the population had successfully established a foothold in Delaware, a limited hunting season was started. The last release of wild-trapped turkeys occurred in 2002 in New Castle County. Today, turkeys can be found in every corner of the  state.

To ensure the continued success of wild turkeys in Delaware, information on their distribution and annual reproductive success is valuable. One simple and cost-effective method is to have volunteers record and report sightings of turkeys.  

The 2010 survey period begins July 1 and continues through Aug. 31. Upon sighting turkeys, participants are asked to record the date, county and number of adult hens, gobblers and poults (young of the year) they observe. Participants are asked to submit their results to the Division by Sept. 10.

A data sheet and set of instructions is available for volunteers to download. For more information, please contact Wildlife Biologist Matthew DiBona at (302)735-3600.

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