Seasonal Home Ranges of Wild Turkeys in Central Mississippi

Home range size is an important component of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) ecology. We estimated 95% convex polygon home ranges for gobblers and hens within biological seasons in central Mississippi. Mean home range size of gobblers (N = 97) varied from 607.1 ha (subadults during spring) to 809.9 ha (subadults during fall/winter). Mean home range size of hens (N = 127) varied from 97.2 ha (early brood) to 541.9 ha (fall/winter). Male home range size did not differ among seasons (P >0.05). However, gobblers tended to have larger home range sizes than hens, which likely reflected sexual dimorphism of turkeys and movements of gobblers to associate with hens during spring. Home ranges for hens were smallest during the early brood period (P<0.003). Home ranges on our area were larger than reported from other comparable Southeastern studies. We posit that these larger ranges resulted from the lack of interspersed opening (e.g., fields, pastures) on our area and exploitation of a variety of forested habitats by male and female wild turkeys.

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