In the late 1990s and early 2000s, turkey populations were exploding. A species that had nearly been extirpated hit an estimated high of almost 7 million birds in 2004 but has seen a slow decline since. The most recent population estimate by the NWTF, from 2014, is 6.2 million birds. That doesn’t seem like a precipitous decline, and it’s not occurring everywhere. Some biologists speculate that once-expanding populations have simply stabilized as the carrying capacity of the habitat is met. But in some states, especially some traditional Eastern wild-turkey strongholds, the numbers suggest something more troubling. In New York, the turkey population has dropped by 40 percent since 2010. In certain Tennessee counties, the harvest has fallen by half. In Arkansas, overall turkey numbers have plummeted by 65 percent (see sidebar at right). Imagine losing two-thirds of your turkeys.