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Wild Turkey Survey Indicates Slight Improvement

Poult Production Lower Than Average, But Turkey Population Resilient

Photo of female turkey and juveniles

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently completed the annual Summer Wild Turkey Observation Survey.

The reproduction index of 2.3 poults per adult hen was below the 15-year average of 3 poults per hen, but slightly higher than the record-low 2016 index of 2 poults per hen. A poult is a young turkey hatched this spring or summer.

“Although the results are less than ideal, Maryland’s wild turkey population has proven that it is resilient,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Turkey numbers are near or at record highs and should remain plentiful throughout the state despite the low poult production seen this summer.”

Above-average rainfall in the spring and summer may have contributed to poor nesting and brood-rearing success.

The survey, which has been conducted annually since 1993, is primarily used to estimate reproductive success of Maryland’s wild turkeys. Interested staff, landowners, hunters, and wildlife-watchers record numbers of adult and young turkeys during the months of July and August. This year, 3,415 wild turkeys were observed by 84 participants.

Graph of Summer Wild Turkey Survey Results