Hunting activity effects on roost selection by male wild turkeys.

  • November 13, 2019
  • by Wakefield, C.T., Martin, J.A., Wightman, P.H., Bond, B.T., Lowrey, D.K., Cohen, B.S., Collier, B.A. and Chamberlain, M.J.


Roosting is an important component of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo; turkey) ecology asroosts provide security from predators and inclement weather. Males call (gobble) from roosts during thereproductive season, and roost locations are important for maximizing access to females and transmission ofcalls across the landscape, while also minimizing predation risk. Spring hunting of male turkeys occursduring the reproductive season, and hunting activity influences male behaviors and calling. Because roostsites are important for wild turkey ecology, we evaluated roost site selection andfidelity of male turkeysrelative to land cover types, vegetative characteristics, and the presence of hunting activity during2017–2018 in Georgia, USA. Prior to onset of hunting, males selected roosts nearest to hardwood and pine(Pinusspp.) forests. Roost sitefidelity was low and distances between roosts were large. After onset ofhunting, males selected pine forests less and exhibited greater plasticity in roost selection whilefidelityremained minimal, suggesting that males may have altered selection to mitigate risk from hunting whilemaintaining the strategy of moving about their ranges and roosting at different sites on consecutive nights.Future research should examine potential effects of hunting‐induced shifts in resource selection on otheraspects of male turkey behavior and ecology. © 2019 The Wildlife Society