New Turkey Tracker Project Engages Idaho Residents in Wildlife Monitoring


EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Idaho Fish and Game has intensified their efforts to understand the state’s turkey population, with the recent launch of a study in Northern Idaho to investigate key aspects of wild turkey ecology. Now, with the introduction of the Turkey Tracker project, a citizen-driven initiative, IDFG aims to deepen their understanding of the state’s turkey population.

The Turkey Tracker project calls upon the public to actively participate in spotting and reporting wild turkeys across the state. This initiative marks Idaho’s first formal population survey dedicated to these iconic birds. Participants are encouraged to log their observations via the IDFG website or through a mobile app.

“In the East, brood surveys have been in use for close to 40 years, but out here in the West, it’s almost unheard of,” said Chuck Carpenter, NWTF district biologist in Utah, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico. “This tracker marks a big step forward for the West. Idaho is strutting its stuff as a trendsetter by exploring new methods to collect turkey population data to inform future management decisions.”

The annual turkey survey will rely solely on people reporting turkey sightings, including how many birds were spotted and in what county they were seen. Reporters can also upload photos of the birds, but photos are not required to report sightings.

The primary goal of the Turkey Tracker project is to monitor wild turkey reproduction and population dynamics. Data obtained will allow managers to monitor trends in reproduction and populations, and help make regulatory recommendations necessary to maintain sustainable populations.

The survey is specifically focused on the crucial brooding months of July and August when hens are with young, and the survey emphasizes documenting broods. A brood survey provides information on productivity, which is the number of surviving offspring produced in a population. A brood consists of an adult hen with at least one young poult. Summer brood survival is a primary driver of population trends. This survey will help determine average brood sizes, the percentage of hens with poults, and a ratio of the total number of offspring to the total number of hens. 

The project aims to gather sufficient observations to acquire region-specific data. This information will enable tracking of long-term trends and support informed decisions on season-setting and harvest regulations. The initiative aligns closely with the management plan’s objective to enhance monitoring and reporting of wild turkey populations, ensuring reliable insights into population dynamics over time.

“Citizen science aims to engage both hunters and non-hunters, giving everyone the opportunity to gather real-world data,” Carpenter said. “This information will shape future management decisions. If you are in Idaho, download the app and record your turkey observations; the dedication of a turkey enthusiast can be genuinely astonishing.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

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