Turkey Harvest Patterns On A Heavily Hunted Area

A heavily hunted turkey (Meleagris gal!opavo osceola) population was monitored by radio-tracking during 6 hunting seasons. In the sample of 125 radioinstrumented birds, there was no difference in the rate of harvest of turkeys that had been transplanted to the area and those that had been captured on the area, or between adults and juveniles or between males and females. Nearly all harvest in the sample occurred during the first week in the 3 hunting seasons that both sexes were legal game. Harvest was more evenly distributed throughout the 7-week-Iong season when only gobblers were legal. Instrumented birds were not crippled and unretrieved, because cripples were retrieved by other hunters. Movement behavior of the turkeys was not greatly affected by hunting, but turkeys hid from hunters at times. Hunting regulations are probably the most cost effective turkey management tool available in many populations and this subject warrants much more research attention than it is now receiving.

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