Evaluation of Southeastern Coyote Diets During the Wild Turkey Reproductive Season

The role of coyotes (Canis latrans) as predators of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) remains unclear. We determined proportion of wild turkey and other prey species in coyote scats collected during the wild turkey reproductive and non-reproductive seasons from 4 study areas with wild turkey populations. Wild turkey constituted only a small portion (x = <4%) of coyote diet on all study areas. Wild turkey increased in coyote diet during the wild turkey reproductive season, but the differences were not significant. Wild turkeys have evolved in the presence of predators and possess adaptations for dealing with predation such as wariness, large clutch sizes, and roosting at night. Wild turkeys in quality habitat appear to maintain populations when sympatric with coyotes.

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