Rio Grande Wild Turkey Home Ranges in the Southern Great Plains

Previous studies on wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) home ranges have concentrated on the eastern subspecies (M. g. silvestris). Our objectives were to estimate spring-summer period (1 April-31 August) and annual home ranges of Rio Grande wild turkeys (M. g. intermedia) and compare them across study sites, age (adult, juvenile) and sex. From 2000−2004, we recorded 44,526 telemetry locations from 1,253 radiotagged Rio Grande wild turkeys on four study sites in the Texas Panhandle and southwestern Kansas. We used the 95% fixed kernel and 95% minimum convex polygon (MCP) methods to calculate home ranges. Mean 95% fixed kernel annual home ranges were 1,908 ± 112 ha for females and 1,578 ± 127 ha for males. Mean 95% fixed kernel spring-summer home ranges were 1,054 ± 76.1 ha for females and 1,097 ± 103 ha for males. Juvenile female annual home ranges were larger than other age and sex classes on Texas study sites. Turkeys on the Kansas study site had the largest home ranges (P ≤ 0.01) regardless of period, age, or sex. Our Kansas home range estimates are much larger than previously reported for wild turkeys across all subspecies and may indicate longer distance movements were performed while searching for suitable habitat. Providing habitat near existing roost sites, especially in highly fragmented roosting areas, may allow managers to reduce Rio Grande wild turkey home range sizes.

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