Minnesota deer hunters are being asked this fall to keep a sharp eye out not just for deer, but wild turkeys as well.
Some 18,000 deer hunters will be randomly selected to receive a postcard survey asking them to report information about wild turkey sightings while hunting, according to Sharon Goetz, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wild turkey biologist.
"The percentage of deer hunters observing wild turkeys is used as an index of turkey population growth," Goetz explained. "Sightings are also used to delineate the current distribution of turkeys in the state as populations continue to expand northward."
The last survey was completed in 2002.
Selected hunters will be mailed a postage paid return postcard questionnaire requesting information about the permit area hunted, number of turkeys observed while hunting, and location of observations (number of miles and direction from the nearest town).
Deer hunters will receive the surveys in the mail within two weeks of the season they are hunting. A second mailing will be sent to nonrespondents in late December.
The area to be surveyed includes 112 permit areas selected to include Minnesota's current and potential wild turkey range.