Help MDC assess the quality of the hatch and gauge turkey abundance around the state by participating in the annual wild turkey brood survey. Previously administered using postcards, an electronic version now makes the survey accessible to more people and streamlines summarization of the results.
Wild turkey brood survey instructions
- Only record observations of wild turkeys from June, July, and August.
- Record all wild turkeys seen, including hens, poults, males (jakes and gobblers), and turkeys that you could not identify as hens or males (unknown turkeys).
Example: An observer sees a group of five turkeys on June 1 that includes two hens and three turkeys that they could not identify as hens or males. The observer submits an observation where the number of hens observed is "2" and the number of unknown turkeys observed is "3."
- Fill out one form for each individual observation of a group of turkeys.
Example: An observer sees one hen with five poults during the morning of June 10 and sees a group of two hens without poults later that day. The observer submits the first observation of "1" hen and "5" poults, opens a new form, and submits the second observation of "2" hens.
- Observations of the same group of turkeys can be submitted more than once (i.e., an observer sees the same group of turkeys multiple days in a row); however, select "Yes" to answer the "Have you seen these turkeys before?" question during repeat submissions.
Example 1: An observer sees one hen and three poults in their backyard for the first time on July 5. The observer submits this observation and selects "No" to answer the "Have you seen these turkeys before?" question. The observer sees this same group of one hen and three poults return to their yard the next day, July 6. The observer submits this observation and selects "Yes" to answer the "Have you seen these turkeys before?" question.
Example 2: An observer sees a group of three gobblers on Aug. 15. They previously submitted an observation of these three male turkeys when they observed this group on Aug. 13. The observer submits the observation of "3" males on Aug. 15 by selecting "Yes" to answer the "Have you seen these turkeys before?" question.
If you prefer to keep track of your wild turkey observations on paper to enter later, print the Wild Turkey Brood Survey Printable Worksheet found below.
Wild Turkey Brood Survey Background
MDC has conducted an annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey every year since 1959 to determine the success of the hatch. Observations of all wild turkeys MDC staff and interested volunteers observe during June, July, and August are recorded at the county level and summarized by region and statewide.
In the past, survey cooperators had to sign up for a mailing list to receive hard copy postcards before the start of each survey month. Cooperators would then record all turkey observations during that month on the postcard and return it to MDC at the end of the month. Observations were entered by hand into a database before the data could be summarized.
MDC has developed an electronic version of the Wild Turkey Brood Survey to make the survey more accessible and to improve how fast results are summarized.
As a cooperator, you will receive a reminder email that the survey is about to begin and a summary report at the end of each survey. You can also receive a copy of your submitted observations.
Submit observations of wild turkeys during June, July, and August.
You will need to provide a valid email address when submitting observations. Linking each observation to an email allows us to estimate how many people are contributing observations to the Wild Turkey Brood Survey each year.
- Gobblers are about twice as large as hens; jakes are about one and a half times larger than hens
- Feathers have black tips, which makes them appear darker than hens
- Have exposed flesh on the head that can be a combination of blue, red, and white
- Prominent caruncles (fleshy growths) at the base of the neck
- Most have a beard that protrudes from the breast
- Have spurs on the backs of their legs
- About half the size of gobblers
- Feathers have beige or brown tips that make them appear duller, or browner, than males
- Head is more blueish in appearance than males
- Light feathering extends further up the neck and head than on males
- Most do not have beards, but bearded hens often have a thinner beard than males
- Do not have spurs on the backs of their legs