Response of Wild Turkey Hens to Bear Hunting in Western North Carolina

Movements of eastern wild turkey hens (Meleagris gallapavo silvestris) were monitored using radio telemetry on the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Western North Carolina during 1985-87. Turkeys (N = 15) responded to the use of dogs for bear hunting by temporarily abandoning portions of their established home ranges and relocating to unhunted areas during the 2-month season. Hens returned to abandoned areas soon after hunting ceased and when dogs were not used for hunting. No mortality of turkeys was detected during bear season. The rapid return of hens to former ranges suggests that unhunted habitats were crowded or that preferred habitats on Coweeta were not available to turkeys during bear hunts.

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