Report wild turkey sightings with the Nebraska Game and Parks’ annual survey

July 9, 2024, 5 a.m. ·

Eastern Wild Tom Turkey. (Photo by Jim Cummings/Adobe Stock)

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission opened its fifth annual turkey brood survey to the public on July 1. Now through Aug. 31, people can log their observations online.

The commission uses the statewide data collected by staff members and the public to make decisions based on the turkey population. Numbers play a role in permits for hunting season, habitat needs and other key species management practices.

Luke Meduna, big game program manager for Nebraska Game and Parks, said input from the public is a valuable addition to what staff collects.

“The public collected about half of our data last year,” Meduna said. “Our staff collects a fair amount of it when they’re out and about, but just including the public essentially doubles the amount we get in.”

He expects the population to bounce back from last year’s statewide drought, which caused numbers to decrease.

“There’s a number of theories out there where with the heavy rains we had, that could actually negatively influence that success,” he said. “But, with the amount of vegetation across the landscape, with the amount of rain we’ve had, I expect a good year this year.”

He said the program began collecting data from the public in the 1970s but stopped in 2003. When the National Wild Turkey Federation’s technical committee, a team of biologists across the state, released a standardized protocol for management, Meduna decided to reintroduce the survey.