Recovery Rates of Banded vs. Radiomarked Northern Bobwhites in Western Oklahoma

We estimated interval (Dec-Feb) recovery and survival rates of marked northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) to determine effects of radiomarking and supplemental feeding on the Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in western Oklahoma from 1991 to 1996. We also estimated unretrieved harvest (crippling loss) reported by hunters and compared it to unretrieved harvest of radiomarked bobwhites to determined accuracy of hunter information. We banded 308 and radiomarked 296 bobwhites. Interval survival and recovery rates were estimated using the computer program MARK. Recovery rates of banded bobwhites (0.39) differed (χ2 = 5.03, P = 0.03) from radiomarked bobwhites (0.30). Estimated interval survival rates differed (χ2 = 42.1, P < 0.01) between banded (0.19) and radiomarked bobwhites (0.56). In our study, radiomarking bobwhites had an apparent positive influence on survival. Radiotelemetry study results should be interpreted cautiously, as estimates of mortality and survival may be biased. The interval recovery and survival rates did not differ (χ2 = 0.09, P = 0.77; χ2 = 0.03, P = 0.87) between supplementally-fed and control areas, respectively. Supplemental feed had little or no effect on bobwhite overwinter survival or harvest during controlled hunts. Mean unretrieved harvest estimated by hunters (13.7%) and from the radiomarked sample (11.8%) did not differ (Z = 0.69, P = 0.25). Hunters appeared to provide reliable estimates of unretrieved harvest.

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