Electronic Field Guide » Featured Wildlife Species » Wild Turkey » Turkey and Other Wildlife

Prepared by Kevin Yoder and Margaret Brittingham (Ecosystem Science and Management)
Natural gas development can occur in a responsible manner that protects wild turkey habitat.  In addition, some of the limiting factors of wild turkey population growth in Pennsylvania can actually be addressed through the reclamation of natural gas–associated land disturbances.  By creating brooding habitat, late-season food sources, and winter shelter, the habitat suitability for wild turkeys can be improved in certain areas.  When the correct measures are taken, reclamation can not only stabilize a site, but provide important habitat components as well.

Many of the management recommendations provided in this article for wild turkey also apply to a variety of other game and nongame species.  For example, protecting spring seeps protects a food source for many terrestrial birds and mammals, as well as a breeding area for amphibians.  Brooding habitat created for wild turkey may also be used by ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, and several species of songbirds.  Other habitat generalists will benefit from the diversity of food and cover types protected or created for wild turkeys.

Protecting and Enhancing Wild Turkey Habitat during Gas Exploration and Development--Points to Remember

  • Locate well pads, roads, and transmission lines away from spring seeps.
  • Protect low-elevation conifer stands, especially those near spring seeps or streams.
  • Retain large trees for roosting.
  • Protect or create herbaceous openings with diverse vegetation about 0.5-2 feet tall.
  • Avoid mowing or surface disturbance of transmission lines from April 15–July 30, when turkeys may be nesting.
  • Reclaim the edges of pads and pipelines with mast-producing trees and shrubs.