KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The wild turkey numbers are in from the summer count conducted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency across all 95 counties in the state with public participation in data collection. The agency’s Wild Turkey Observation Survey ran from June 1 through Aug. 31.

According to TWRA, its biologists were “blown away by the participation this year,” and thanked all who participated in the public survey. Data collected from the public and staff was used in the survey to formulate TWRA’s Turkey Status Report and its ongoing Wild Turkey Management Plan.

Some initial numbers shared by TWRA on its social media included almost 36,000 turkeys counted by the public with data from all 95 counties, while the TWRA counted 7,341 from 84 counties. There were also 4,243 public observations that met the criteria for inclusion in the survey, plus 1,284 staff observations. For the observers or people who participated in the count, there were 2,810 unique public observers and 134 unique TWRA observers.

“A huge thank you to all who took the time to report observations during the summer!!” TWRA said on its social media. “We truly appreciate the help and hope folks will join in next summer too. A full summary will be completed and posted to our website in the coming months as part of TWRA’s annual turkey status report.”

TWRA states on its website that its staff has been counting turkeys during everyday work activities in the summer since the 1980s.

“That has served well to get a broad picture of how turkeys are doing on a statewide scale,” TWRA states. “But if you break up Tennessee into regions, there isn’t enough data to tell us about these smaller areas. Unfortunately, there simply are not many staff members in some parts of the state.” 

Such is why the TWRA began inviting everybody across Tennessee to take part in the Wild Turkey Observation Survey.

The next Wild Turkey Observation Survey will begin on June 1, 2023.