Counting Spring Turkeys With A CSI Twist

turkey huntingPA, OH, NY and the NWTF are continuing a 4-year study to estimate the spring gobbler harvest rates in each of the three states.

This past winter OH banded 222 birds, PA banded 332, and NY tagged 350. The leg-bands are an aluminum band secured via a stainless steel rivet. Past research has typically used aluminum bands that are squeezed closed, but these bands sometimes fall off.

Each leg band is secured to a male turkey’s leg, and has a unique letter-number combination. All bands are imprinted with a toll-free telephone number so you can report a harvest or recovery of a band. The study will allow comparisons of harvest and survival rates among the three states, with their varying harvests, hunter numbers and hunter densities.

So what’s the deal with hens?

Here’s where the CSI twist comes in. Hens caught during the trapping efforts are part of the study. Breast feathers from both males and females are gathered to help build a forensic DNA database.

So what’s in it for you other than helping the state and securing the turkey’s future?

How about $100. A reward of $100 will be paid for reporting the band to state authorities. The chance of harvesting a bird wearing a $100 band is low, but the information being gathered is significant. So far, $11,300 has been paid to Pennsylvania turkey hunters for reporting bands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *