Wild Turkey Observation Survey

You Can Help!  We need wild turkey observation survey participants!!!

Person looking through binoculars

If you enjoy seeing wild turkeys and want to be a part of the science of turkey management, this is a wonderful opportunity to get involved.

Participants will record turkeys that they see in Tennessee from June 1 until August 31, 2024, using either a digital form accessible on this webpage or using a mobile app.

If this sounds interesting, then follow the links to learn some important identification skills and survey tactics. You will need to know a little bit about turkey biology and the differences between gobblers, jakes, hens, and poults (baby turkeys) and have a good understanding of the purpose of the survey.

Wild Turkey Observation

A Little Background about the Survey

Records of wild turkey sightings provide the agency with information on many factors that influence turkey population trends, including nesting success, brood survival, and annual reproduction productivity. The number of young that are produced each year is generally the most important factor influencing wild turkey population trends, so knowing this information is central to sound turkey management. Through the survey, we also obtain information on peak hatching dates of turkey broods and carry-over of males from the spring hunting season.

TWRA staff have been counting turkeys during normal work activities in the summer since the 1980s and that has served well to get a broad picture of how turkeys are doing on a statewide scale.  But if you break up Tennessee into regions, there isn’t enough data to tell us about these smaller areas.   Unfortunately, there simply are not many staff members in some parts of the state.  Consequently, TWRA is inviting everybody across Tennessee to take part in the wild turkey observation survey.

How to Participate

  1. First, make sure you have access to the digital survey form while you’re outdoors so you can record your observations and submit them to us. You can either access it directly on the internet or you can download the Survey 123 mobile app on your smartphone or tablet and use the app to record turkeys while afield. 
  2. Before you go out looking for turkeys, make sure you can tell the difference between sex and age classes by reading through the tutorial and taking the short id quiz
  3. There are no designated survey routes for this survey. While you are out and about in the great outdoors in Tennessee, simply keep your eye out for turkeys!  Pay close attention to what kind (age and sex) of turkeys you are seeing.  Binoculars are a great tool for this, so if you can, please utilize binoculars.  If it’s safe, we encourage commuting observers to pull over to the side of the road. Be patient and concentrate to get an accurate count of all the turkeys in the group.  If you are still unsure of the size and makeup of the group, you can indicate that on the form.
  4. We ask that you record each sighting of turkeys as a separate observation.  You can see more than one group of turkeys in a single day.
  5. We record sightings that occur from June 1 through August 31. 
  6. Be aware of what Tennessee County you are in.  For each observation, you will be prompted to record the county.
  7. Visit https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/hunting/big-game/turkey.html#biology  to see our wild turkey status reports and summaries of past years’ survey results.

How to Record and Submit YOUR Turkey Observation!

Record Your Observations 

  • record turkeys that you see incidentally while you are outside
  • pull over if you are in a vehicle.  Be Safe!
  • be patient and observe closely; use binoculars
  • know what county you are in
  • submit a survey for each separate observation of turkey(s)
  • submit observations from June 1 through August 31

Filling out the survey form is easy!  You will see instructions and questions prompting you to fill in boxes with details about your sighting.  Keep reading to learn how to submit your observations.

Submit Your Observations

Wild Turkey Survey Link

Participants can record and submit their turkey observations by using the program "ArcGIS Survey 123" by ESRI.  When you click on the survey icon or survey link, you will be prompted to choose either "web browser" or "Survey 123 field app".  Keep reading for important tips on how to navigate these platforms.

Browser Form or the App Form?  Which should I choose?

The Internet Browser Survey is easy to get to! Make this selection and the web form opens right up.  You are ready to record your turkey sightings.  However, it is dependent on a good signal.  If you are in the great outdoors and your cellular signal is poor, your log of turkey observations may not get sent in.  Only choose this option if you have a good connection to the internet.

The Survey 123 Field App is a mobile application.  This selection requires that you add one more app to your phone or tablet and it takes a few steps to get it set up.  But once everything is set up, it is super easy to get to the form on your mobile device. This is very handy when you are outside and happen upon some turkeys!  Even better, with the app you can fill out the form even when you do not have a signal.  You can save the recording of the observation and then later, once you have a signal, you can open the app and submit the saved turkey observation record.

Wild Turkey Survey Link

How to use the Mobile App

Download the ArcGIS Survey 123 field app from the Apple App Store on your iPhone or Google Play on your Android.  There is a link at the bottom of the screen once you open the Survey 123 Wild Turkey Observation Survey from your mobile device.  Or you can search for "Survey 123 " in your mobile device's app store.  After downloading this app, don't open it, but go back and select the link for this specific turkey survey and then select the option to "open in the Survey 123 field app".  This will put this turkey survey into your Survey 123 app and then later you can get to it by opening the mobile app from that point forward.

You do not need a username and/or a password.  If the app prompts you for this, go back to the link for the Survey 123 Wild Turkey Observation Survey.

The app may prompt you to go through steps to collect location info.  This is not necessary.  The survey does not require point locations/GPS coordinates for sightings but only the county that the sighting occurred in and you will be prompted later to enter this manually from a drop-down list of Tennessee counties.

Instruction Videos

Walk-through video: How to set up the Survey 123 app 

Watch this brief walk-through video to get a good understanding of how the form works. 

Having Technical Difficulties?

If you have issues with the survey or the app, send your question to Zach.R.Collins@tn.gov