TWRA banding turkeys to study harvest rates


NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is beginning a four-year project to band turkeys across the state that will provide information on harvest rates and population demographics.

The study is being led by TWRA’s Wildlife and Forestry Division with researchers at Tennessee Tech University. Banding began this past winter across the state.

The goal is to capture and band, or tag, around 300 adult and juvenile male turkeys across the state on both public and private lands. Hunters who harvest a banded bird are asked to report the band number to TWRA.

Eastern wild turkey populations throughout much of the Southeast United States have declined over the past decade or more, including in parts of Tennessee.

To make wise management decisions, TWRA requires data to understand the relationships between hunting regulations, harvest, and resultant population impacts. Given the diversity of landscapes, turkey densities, and hunter attitudes and behaviors throughout Tennessee, the wildlife agency will be able to put in place responsible management practices across the state.

The 2021 spring turkey hunting season for the majority of the state is April 3-May 16, with the Young Sportsman Hunt on March 27-29. Seasons start later in two areas of the state to benefit struggling turkey populations in these areas.

In the newly formed Mississippi Alluvial Valley unit (consisting of Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton counties) and in Giles, Lawrence, Lincoln, and Wayne counties the season runs April 17-May 16, with the Young Sportsman Hunt the weekend before, April 10-11.

OnX Hunt, a mobile GPS app used for hunting, recently named Tennessee one of its 10 best states for turkey hunting.

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