The Effects Of A Spring "Gobblers-Only" Hunting Season On Wild Turkey Reproduction Population Size

A wild turkey (Meleagris gal/opavo silvestris) population was established near Auburn, Alabama be releasing 26 wild-captured birds during 1965 and early 1966. From March 1965 through June 1972 dynamics of the population were studied. Continued observation on the population, most individual of which wjre marked, was the primary method of study. A total of 2,362 positive identifications of individually marked turkeys was made. Direct count estimates of spring-breeding populations and late-summer populations were made each year from 1965 through 1971, excluding 1969, on the 7,293 acre study area. Late summer counts gave hen-poult ratios and estimates of total reproductive success. Hunting was not allowed during the first 5 years after the original release. Harvest data collected from hunter permit questionnaires and personal interviews showed that 1.8 and 1.2 legal turkeys were harvested per square mile on the study area during the springs of 1971 and 1972, respectively. A comparison of population estimates and estimates of total reproductive success for the years when no hunting was allowed (1965-1970) with those of 9171 and 1972, when hunting was allowed, indicated that a spring "gobblers-only" hunting season had little effect on reproduction and population size.

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