Is Spring Wild Turkey Gobbler Harvest Additive or Compensatory?

Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

We compared survival rates of eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo sylvestris) gobblers in hunted (Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological reserve [CWMA]) and unhunted (Savannah River Site [SRS]) populations in South Carolina to assess impact of spring gobbler-only hunts. Annual survival rate of gobblers on SRS (0.71) was greater (χ2 = 5.11; df = 1; P = 0.02) than that of gobblers on CWMA (0.54). Our results indicate that spring gobbler harvests constitute additive mortality to turkey populations. However, even in years when reproductive rates were relatively low, a spring-only gobbler harvest rate of 25% appeared to have a minimal effect on turkey populations.

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