The annual report provides turkey hunters and others interested with both biological and sociological data used by WFF to help monitor and manage the state's turkey resource. Much of the information reported was compiled from the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey.
Avid Turkey Hunter Survey
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) is encouraging turkey hunters who hunt for at least 10 days during turkey season to participate in the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey. Hunters who participate in the survey will receive a copy of Full Fans & Sharp Spurs and be automatically entered to win a new shotgun from the Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
To participate in the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey, contact WFF at 334-242-3469. WFF staff will provide hunters with information about how to complete the survey. Hunters may also email Steve Barnett or Joel Glover for more information about the survey. Results from 2015 Turkey Hunter Web Survey (pdf)
Hunting the Eastern Wild Turkey
For many in Alabama, spring not only represents a time of new vegetation and warming temperatures but also a time of lost sleep and miles traveled along woods roads and fields. This insomnia is brought on by their dogged pursuit of the monarch of the spring woods, the wild turkey. Alabamians have been chasing turkeys for the past 60 years. It has been said if you can consistently call in and take a mature gobbler in Alabama you can take one anywhere in the country. The wild turkey is a wary and fickle bird.
Alabama currently boasts more wild turkeys than any southeastern state based on non-scientific population estimates with huntable populations in all 67 counties from the Appalachian foothills to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The bag limit of one gobbler per day and five per season is the most generous in the country. In addition, Alabama hunters enjoy one of the longest seasons in the country.
The restoration of the wild turkey in Alabama and across the nation is considered one of America’s greatest conservation success stories. The turkey population in the state was estimated to be as low as 10,000 in the early 1900s. These alarming conditions prompted Alabama’s conservation movement which led to the restoration, protection, management and research efforts that ultimately helped revive wild turkey numbers to a level that provides excellent hunting opportunities today. Alabama was a keystone state in the restoration of the wild turkey across North America. Numerous turkeys were trapped and relocated across the state and country. Due to efforts of this type, there are now huntable populations of wild turkeys in 49 states.
The wild turkey requires a diverse habitat which is provided by well managed woodlands interspersed with open areas. Proper habitat management for turkeys often includes prescribed burning, the creation of wildlife openings, periodic disking in fallow fields and timber harvest management.
Our staff is involved in ongoing region wide research and statewide data collection to monitor the status and productivity of our turkey populations. In addition, Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division wildlife biologists are available to assist landowners in developing and maintaining good turkey habitat on their property. The Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and Auburn University are currently testing standardized, scientific methods to measure wild turkey productivity. WFF biologists and AU researchers are exploring the feasibility and efficiency of using game cameras to measure poult survival. This project, with funding assistance from the Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, began in 2006 in the Conecuh National Forest and has expanded to regional applications in Alabama. The value of this standardized method is currently under evaluation for practicality of use and has shown some promise in some applications.
Wild Turkey Project Study Leader
Supervising Wildlife Biologist, District V
30571 Five Rivers Blvd.
Spanish Fort, AL 36527
Poult and Hen Counts
Photo courtesy of NWTF
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries biologists have conducted informal poult/hen counts for the past three years. The methodology does not follow a strict scientific process but does provide trend data regarding wild turkey reproductive success. Biologists record observations of all turkeys (hens, poults, and gobblers) and each observation during any day was recorded separately. Observations were collected statewide and the data were separated by five WFF districts, by six physiographic regions (Limestone Valleys & Uplands), Appalachian Plateau, Piedmont Plateau, Blackland Prairie, Upper Coastal Plain, and Lower Coastal Plain), and by public or private lands. Please click on the links below to view the results of each survey.