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Wednesday, October 19 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Wildlife. Movements and habitat selection of male Rio Grande wild turkeys during drought in south Texas

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AUTHORS: Bret A. Collier, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center; Joshua Guthrie, Texas A&M University; Jason B. Hardin, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Kevin L. Skow, Texas A&M University

ABSTRACT: Wildlife managers rely on accurate information regarding wild turkey habitat selection and use to appropriately structure management activities. We used integrated VHF-GPS transmitters to evaluate fine scale movements and habitat selection of male Rio Grande wild turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo intermedia) in south Texas. As our study coincided with the regions 2nd worst recorded drought, we evaluated the influence of supplemental resources (supplemental feeding and managed surface water) on turkey distribution and movements. We deployed 8 GPS units on adult male Rio Grande wild turkeys captured in south Texas during spring 2009. We classified land cover into three vegetative categories: bare ground/herbaceous (26%), thorn scrub (69%), and woody riparian (5%). Based on 5 recovered individuals, we found that adult male Rio Grande wild turkeys used bare ground/herbaceous (49%) and woody riparian (41%) habitat types in much greater proportion to their availability on the landscape. Turkeys traveled in relatively linear paths (fractal dimension ≤ 1.1) and moved significantly longer distances in the morning (2.9 km) than in the afternoon (1.2 km). Our results also suggest that turkey locations were significantly closer to supplemental resources than random locations generated within our study area. Our results indicate that bare ground/herbaceous and woody riparian habitat types are essential for wild turkey populations in the south Texas plains region and supplemental resources will be actively selected for during severe drought years.

Wednesday October 19, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am
Louisiana Room

Attendees (2)