Wild Turkey Use of Control-burned Loblolly Pine Plantations

Pine (Pinus spp.) plantations comprise a major habitat type in the Southeast, and burning is used for forest and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) management. We studied turkey hen (N = 165) use of control-burned loblolly pine (P. taeda) plantations, July 1986-March 1991, in Kemper County, Mississippi. Generally, hen use of plantations during summer (Jul-Sep), fall (Oct—Dec), and winter (Jan-Mar) was equal to or less than available for plantations <1 year and 5:7 years since-burned. Use was equal to or greater than available for plantations 1-6 years since-burned. During spring (Apr-Jun), successful (hatched eggs) hens used most years since-burned classes equal to or greater than available for the preincubation and early brood (1-14 days post-hatch) periods. Most (90%) hens nested in plantations and success tended to be higher in those plantations not burned for approximately 5 years. A mixture of midrotation-aged (14— 22 years old) plantations with different years since-burned, using a frequency of 3-6 years, would provide suitable turkey habitats.

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