Title page for ETD etd-10232007-115145

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Grisham, Blake Anthony
URN etd-10232007-115145
Title Spatial Ecology, Habitat Selection, and Survival of Wild Turkey Gobblers in a Managed Bottomland Hardwood Forest
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael Chamberlain Committee Chair
Frank Rohwer Committee Member
Sammy King Committee Member
  • program mark
  • compositional analysis
  • spatial shift
  • kernel densities
  • harvest
Date of Defense 2007-10-05
Availability unrestricted
Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males were captured and radio-tagged in a bottomland hardwood forest of south-central Louisiana. Turkeys were monitored year round from fixed telemetry stations on Sherburne Wildlife Management Area, Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, and Bayou des Ourses to observe seasonal patterns of space use, habitat selection and survival from 2005-07.

The largest seasonal home range was in fall/winter (966.41 ha; Oct 1-Feb 28). Spring home range (767.77 ha; Mar 1- May 31) size was lower than reported in previous studies and was a function of female availability. Season and age interacted to influence core area size (F5/63 = 2.35, P = 0.051), but not home range size (F5/63 = 1.49, P = 0.207). Males did not move about their home range differently before or during the breeding season (t20 = 1.11, P = 0.282). Additionally, males did not display spatial shifts of core areas before and during the breeding season at the population level (t20 = -0.92, P = 0.367).

Upland forests and water-based forests were selected by adults and juveniles at all 3 spatial scales (habitat selection in home ranges vs. habitat availability across study area [1st order], habitat selection in core areas vs. habitat availability across home ranges [2nd order], and habitat availability across home ranges [3rd order]), whereas lowland forests were avoided at all 3 spatial scales. Habitat selection in spring was based on location of females. Water-based forests were essential to male habitat as they provide quality roosting and feeding sites.

Survival was lowest in spring (0.43, SE = 0.09; Mar 1- May 31) due to the spring harvest. Fall/winter survival averaged 0.74 (SE = 0.05; Oct 1-Feb 28) and survival during summer averaged 0.74 (SE=0.06; Jun 1-Sept 30). Mean annual survival was 0.64 (SE = 0.06), among the highest ever reported for wild turkey males. The conservative harvest strategy on Sherburne was likely related to high survival rates for males

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