Since 2010, the Division of Fish and Wildlife has used an annual, volunteer-based survey to record observations of wild turkeys across the state during the months of July and August.
Division of Fish and Wildlife
The survey generates an index of annual turkey productivity and recruitment (the ratio of young birds per adult females).
The survey also helps track the health and distribution of the turkey population and evaluate potential regional differences in reproductive success within Delaware.
A total of 30 participants submitted 113 observations during the two-month survey period. This was an increase in the number of volunteers, but a decrease in observations as compared to the 2019 survey.
The observers recorded 382 total wild turkeys — 172 hens, 143 poults and 66 males.
Based on analysis of the observations, and the ratio of poults per hen, production appears to have been ‘poor to fair’ in most parts of the state for the 2020 nesting season.
However, state biologists caution that the small sample size and uneven distribution of observations may limit the accuracy of these estimates.
Participants record observations of turkeys in the months of July and August during the course of their daily activities. Using a Division-provided data sheet, participants record the date and number of gobblers (adult male), hens, and poults seen during each observation.
Participants also record the Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) in which each encounter occurred. Delaware is divided into 18 WMZs.
Use the Wild Turkey Observation Form to record the date, county, and number of adult hens, gobblers, and poults (young of the year) you observe. Use the Wildlife Management Zone map to determine which zone you are in. Avoid duplicate sightings. If you see a brood in the same place several days in a row, only record them once.
Submit your completed forms by September 10 via fax (302-653-6755) or at the address below:
Turkey Observation Survey
c/o Division of Fish and Wildlife
6180 Hay Point Landing Road
Smyrna, DE 19977
For more information, contact us at 302-735-3600.