Home Range, Dispersal and Habitat Utilization of Eastern Wild Turkey Gobblers During the Breeding Season

Eight eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris Viellot) gobblers were captured on the Britt Research Area in McCormick County. South Carolina, during February and March of 1973. They were equipped with numbered leg bands. colored vinyl patagial streamers, and radio transmitters and were released at the sites of capture. The turkeys were located several times daily from the time of release until the primary breeding season ended in middle June using both telemetric and visual observations. Average minimum home ranges during the breeding season for two adult and five juvenile gobblers were determined to be 93.5 and 95.0 hectares. respectively. Three adult and five juvenile gobblers dispersed an average 4.57 and 1.47 kilometers. respectively from their capture and release sites over a four months period. Several aspects of habitat utilization by gobblers were studied. No significant changes in habitat utilized by gobblers were noted as the breeding season progressed (P .10). Gobblers utilized different types of habitat at different times of the day (P .02). Use of pastures peaked during early morning and again in late afternoon. There was a difference in utilization of habltats by adult and juvenile gobblers (P .10). Adults utilized pasture habitats more frequently, while juveniles made more use of pine wood habitats.

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