Habitat Use by Eastern Wild Turkey Hens in Southeastern Louisiana

Seventeen female eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were fitted with transmitters and monitored continuously during March 1984-May 1985. Mean home range for 4 hens that survived the 15-month study period was 677 ha. Adult (i = 66 ha) and subadult (i = 149 ha) home ranges differed (P < 0.05) during spring and may be related to nesting activities. Mean home ranges during summer, fall, and winter were 124,402, and 254 ha, respectively. Average distance traveled in 24 hours did not differ (P > 0.05) between age classes or among seasons. Subadults and adults differed (P < 0.001) in their habitat use with the greatest disparity occurring during spring. Intermediate (11- to 20-year-old) pine was the most consistently preferred (P < 0.05) habitat. Upland sites were preferred (P < 0.05) during nesting. Turkeys concentrated activities in areas surrounding dairy pastures. Intensively used (50% home range) areas generally consisted of intermediate pine, old (≥21-year-old) pine, mixed pine-hardwood, and improved pastures.

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