Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

November 1995


Reduced trapping and hunting of predators has led to concerns that increased predator densities may aged game species populations. Therefore, we investigated effects of predation on the wild turkey population on Tallahala Wildlife Management Area (TWMA), Mississippi, from 1984-94. We also determined trends in raccoon trapping and hunter harvest in Mississippi. Predation of nests (eggs), nesting hens, and points caused a population decline on TWMA. Most (88°!0) nest failures were caused by predation from 1984-94; raccoons were the dominant predator. Declining raccoon hunter harvest from 1980-94 was correlated with declining hunter effort. Trapping license sales and trapping harvest also declined. On TWMA, declining hunter effort was correlated with declining raccoon harvest, reflecting the statewide trend. Further reduction of predator harvest, particularly of raccoons, may negatively impact wild turkey populations in Mississippi. Future research should investigate wild turkey/predator dynamics, effects of natural controls (e.g., disease) on predator densities, and possible trapping incentives to reduce predator densities.