Skip to content

Wild Turkey Research

Since its inception in 1973, the NWTF has provided the foundation for wild turkey conservation throughout North America.

NWTF Staff Photo.

Working for the Wild Turkey

The NWTF has always been a research-driven organization. However, the unstable and declining wild turkey population across the country is cause for an aggressive investment to ensure wild turkeys remain a staple on the landscape for all who revere the bird.

Since the organization’s inception, the NWTF has contributed over $9 million to crucial wild turkey research projects. The combined commitment of our state chapters’ Super Fund contributions and the NWTF’s national investment in wild turkey research in 2022-2023 is $1.2 million.

This shows that when there is a challenge, the NWTF and its volunteers rally to solve it.

Projects receiving 2023 funding:

  • Florida: Integrating Data Sources to Quantify Wild Turkey Abundance Now and in the Future.
  • Florida: Reproduction and Gobbling Chronology of Osceola Wild Turkeys.
  • Iowa: Identification of Mammalian Predators of Wild Turkey Nests and Females Using Genetic Techniques.
  • Kansas: Wild Turkey Poult Foraging Ecology and Nutrient Availability.
  • Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas: A Distribution Level Health Assessment of Rio Grande Wild Turkeys.
  • Mississippi: Novel Approaches to Estimating Wild Turkey Populations Parameters (year 2).
  • Nebraska: Evaluating the Spatial Distribution of Potential Wild Turkey Nest Predators in Western Nebraska.
  • Oklahoma: Wild Turkey Population Ecology and Disease Monitoring.
  • Tennessee: Investigating Fertility Rates and Causes of Early Embryonic Death in Wild Turkey Eggs throughout the U.S.
  • Wisconsin: Eastern Wild Turkey Recruitment Metrics, Poult Survival and Population Trends from Trail Cameras and Movement Data of Marked Birds (pending agency budget approval).
2023 Research Articles:
  • Research Examines Overlap Between Predation and Nesting Habitat

    Jul 13, 2023

    ○ 4 min

  • Research Investigates Disease and Parasite Impact on Rio Grande Wild Turkey

    Jul 19, 2023

    ○ 3 min

  • Florida Research Sheds Light on Osceola Wild Turkey Reproduction and Survival

    Jul 26, 2023

    ○ 3 min

  • Forthcoming Poult and Hen Nutrition Data Could Help Wild Turkey Habitat Managers

    Aug 02, 2023

    ○ 4 min

  • Two wild turkeys walking in a forest opening.

    State-of-the-Art Wild Turkey Research Continues for Second Year

    Aug 09, 2023

    ○ 3 min

  • poult with transmitter

    Wild Turkey Research Investigates Population Decline in Oklahoma

    Aug 16, 2023

    ○ 3 min

  • Wild Turkey Egg Research May Provide Insight into Declines

    Aug 23, 2023

    ○ 3 min

  • Researchers release a wild turkey

    Research Investigates Wild Turkey Nesting Survival in Agricultural Landscapes

    Aug 30, 2023

    ○ 3 min

Read More

Projects receiving 2022 funding:

  • North Dakota: Estimating Survival and Productivity of Translocated Turkeys
  • Texas: Impacts of Woody Understory Vegetation and Invasive Species on Roosting Habitat Potential for Wild Turkey
  • South Dakota: Vital Rates and Population Growth of Merriam’s Turkeys in South-Central South Dakota
  • Mississippi: Novel Approaches to Estimating Wild Turkey Population Parameters
  • Texas: Rio Grande Wild Turkey Habitat and Genetic Connectivity, Disease Prevalence and Survival in the Texas Edwards Plateau Ecoregion
  • Georgia: Development and Application of Diagnostic Techniques to Better Understand Impacts of Tumor-Causing Viruses (LPDV and RV) in Wild Turkeys
  • South Carolina: Ecology of an Unhunted Wild Turkey Population
2022 Research Articles:
  • New Research Seeks to Better Understand Turkey Populations

    Aug 12, 2022

    ○ 3 min

  • New Research to Address Declines Linked to Roost Sites

    Aug 02, 2022

    ○ 3 min

  • Pioneering Wild Turkey Research Underway in Mississippi

    Jun 20, 2022

    ○ 3 min

  • New Wild Turkey Research Initiated in Texas Hill Country

    Jun 30, 2022

    ○ 4 min

  • poult and hen turkey

    NWTF Announces Funding for New Wild Turkey Research Projects

    Jun 07, 2022

    ○ 3 min

  • h

    Researchers Spearhead New Study to Better Understand Diseases in Wild Turkeys

    Aug 18, 2022

    ○ 2 min

  • Studying the Ecology of an Unhunted Turkey Population

    Jul 12, 2022

    ○ 3 min

  • Unprecedented Wild Turkey Study Underway in Peace Garden State

    Jul 12, 2022

    ○ 3 min

Read More

Wild Turkey Technical Committee

The NWTF Technical Committee is comprised of wild turkey biologists from nearly every state natural resource agency who act as liaisons between the NWTF and state natural resources agencies to effectively manage wild turkey populations and deliver conservation that benefits turkeys in a particular state.

Originally assembled in 1976 with just 35 states represented, the Technical Committee has been a part of the NWTF mission almost since the NWTF’s inception (1973), and it has grown to include 49 states. The Technical Committee continues to be the leading force in bolstering populations, creating hunting opportunities and addressing wild turkey management challenges throughout the U.S.

“The interstate trapping and transferring of wild turkeys, the design of the boxes used, the introduction of rocket nets, novel research that guided successful management — when we think of all the iconic moments in the wild turkey success story, they are almost always the result of the NWTF Technical Committee’s efforts,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF’s director of conservation services. “In addition to all the success over the years, one of the Technical Committee’s greatest gifts was the research culture of wild turkey management they established.”

Wild turkey biology and management is somewhat of a specialized field; biologists who are as passionate about it as those on NWTF’s Technical Committee are few and far between. The Technical Committee streamlines communication between these biologists nationwide so they can better share issues they are facing, as well as solutions and new findings.

turkey with a band on its foot
Photo Credit: David Gladkowski

Wild Turkey Symposium

The NWTF  supports and helps coordinate the Wild Turkey Symposium, bringing together the greatest minds in wild turkey research to gather and share their findings. The research that has resulted from this consortium of agency and academic scientists and NWTF biologists has driven wild turkey management across the country and is the core science responsible for the comeback of the wild turkey and addressing the declines we are experiencing in some areas.

To balance the future needs of wild turkey research, the NWTF is working through NWTF Technical Committee members (state agency representatives to the NWTF) and with the Western, Mid-Western, Northeastern and Southeastern Associations of Wildlife Agencies to outline future research needs that will help guide priorities and identify the best places for the NWTF to invest in research.

Your Support Makes a Difference.

Join or Renew