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Oil and Gas Industry a Boon to Turkey Population?

[Editor’s note: The ‘analysis’ below is for entertainment purposes only.]

With all the concern for migratory bats as it relates to pipeline development in Appalachia, BTU Analytics thought it would be prudent to devote some time to Thanksgiving’s most honored guest, the turkey.  As noted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the great state of PA boasts one of the largest numbers of registered turkey hunters in the US.  Coincidentally, Pennsylvania is also the home of the largest number of registered natural gas hunters in the US.  While these two statistics wouldn’t seem to support an increase in the wild turkey population, recent estimates of the number of Jakes, Toms, and less human names that are also types of turkeys, show that the Keystone State’s turkey population is on the rise.  While not definitive, we can (sort of) observe a positive correlation between natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica and the population of wild turkeys in Pennsylvania.


When thinking about what goes into creating a wellsite, one can understand why our little gobbling friends would choose to call PA their home.  A road needs to be installed to the drilling site in order to facilitate the movement of large pieces of machinery and a well pad is created that encompasses roughly 5 acres of land.  After drilling is complete, these areas are typically planted with grass seed and allowed to return to a more natural state.  Thinking like a turkey, why not walk on a nice open road through the woods instead of jumping over logs all day?  Why not hang out with fellow turkeys on what equates to about 2 regulation-size soccer fields and check out the cool new wellhead, separators, and storage tanks?  Going back to the inordinate amount of turkey hunters in PA (nearly 1 for 1 with current turkey population estimates), is it possible that our feathered friends have figured out that if you roost on a wellhead you’re less likely to have BBs thrown your way by a camouflage laden outdoorsman?  If not, how do we explain such a healthy population of Thanksgiving main courses?

To further corroborate this theory, BTU decided to reach out to an on-the-ground source to gain firsthand insight.  When asked for comment on the above theory, Adam Botsford (PA resident, turkey hunter, and O&G professional), commented, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard”.  Hmm…not what I was looking for.

While it would be nice to tie such a feel good turkey story back to the Oil and Gas industry, it turns out that the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s very active turkey management program and more mild spring temperatures have combined to bolster the current population.  That being said, there’s no reason to feel guilty as you over-indulge this Thanksgiving and fade in and out of your tryptophan induced stupor, there’s plenty of turkey to go around.

To hear BTU discuss subjects other than wild turkey demographics, check out our annual conference, What Lies Ahead, taking place in Houston on February 8, 2017.


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Mason Ender is a partner at BTU Analytics, LLC and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining BTU Analytics, he was the Manager of Sales for Bentek Energy, a division of Platts. Mason has worked with energy companies both domestically and internationally to implement effective fundamental energy analytic solutions. Mason also routinely presents energy market dynamics informing the market of upcoming risks and opportunities.

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