Wild Turkey Observation Survey

Person looking through binoculars


We need  wild turkey observation survey participants ! ! ! 

 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 using either a  digital form accesible 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 1980’s 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 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. Record each sighting of turkeys as a separate observation.  You can see more than one group of turkeys in a single day.
  5. 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.