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Gardening & More: Wild turkey study and new scenic overlook

TAKE A GANDER — Public access to this vista will be made permanent with the building of a scenic overlook in the town of Aurora. Photo courtesy of Western New York Land Conservancy.
HAMBURG — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for local landowners to assist with research on wild turkeys.

“Wild turkeys are the most popular small game species in New York among hunters afield,” said department of environmental conservation Commissioner Martens. “The data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this important game species.”

Wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of New York state, during the past 10 years. In an effort to better understand the factors involved, the NYSDEC is beginning the second year of a four-year study.

Beginning in January, that department will capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio-transmitters. All of the work will be done by DEC personnel on both public and private lands, from January – March.

The DEC is looking for landowners interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land. They also want individuals to alert project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property, on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released, at the same location.

Not all areas are suitable for deploying capture equipment, so landowners should contact the regional project coordinator, to discuss the suitability of their property. Observations of turkey flocks from January – March can be reported to the project coordinator, or can be revealed, using the winter wild turkey flock survey form found on the DEC’s website.

Our area’s project coordinator is Emilio Rende, who can be reached at 372-0645 or NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 182 E. Union St., Allegany, NY 14706.

Get more information about this study by emailing, with “Turkey Study” as the subject line.

DEC staff members worked with landowners from across the state to assess harvest and survival of male wild turkeys (gobblers), from 2006 – 2009. Hundreds of landowners participated in that study, or provided reports of winter turkey flocks. With that important project completed, the DEC is once again looking for landowners who are interested in helping with the new study, focused on hen survival.

This is part of the New York Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, an effort with a stated goal of improving recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen, and boosting tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing at various sites across the state and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

Funds raised for new scenic overlook in town of Aurora

Generations to come will be able to enjoy the breathtaking view at a scenic overlook to be constructed on Mill Road in the town of Aurora, thanks to the successful conclusion of a three-year fundraising effort.

The Friends of Mill Road, in partnership with the Western New York Land Conservancy and the town of Aurora, announced that the John R. Oishei Foundation has awarded the Mill Road Scenic Overlook project $75,000, completing the fundraising for the project.

The Mill Road Scenic Overlook property is located on the west side of Mill Road, less than a half mile north of Blakeley, in the town of Aurora.

The property will be purchased by Dec. 31 and Aurora will become the owner of the 60 acres. A conservation easement will be held by the Western New York Land Conservancy, protecting the site from development in perpetuity.

Once the design and engineering is completed, the scenic overlook will be constructed, providing a safe pull-off for passing motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the beauty and magic of this property and its majestic views.

A ribbon cutting will be planned for a spring opening.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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