Natural Resources, School of
Date of this Version
Published in Wildlife Society Bulletin 2022, e1282.
Restoration of eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is among the greatest conservation achievements in North America. However, restoration efforts in east Texas have had limited success, resulting in a fragmented distribution of turkeys across the landscape. Restoration success is largely dependent on the ability of translocated individuals to quickly select habitat patches on the landscape. Information on habitat selection of translocated wild turkeys is important to identify high quality release locations that should reduce the probability of translocation failure. Our objective was to describe selection of landcover types by translocated female wild turkeys in east Texas. During 2016–2017, we translocated 78 GPS‐tagged wild turkeys to Angelina National Forest in east Texas. We quantified third order selection for females during 3 temporal periods—the exploratory phase (days 1–20), the exploitation phase (days 21–80), and within the annual range. During the exploratory phase, females selected shrub‐scrub and open landcover types, as well as linear paths (roads, rights-of‐way). During the exploitation phase, females selected shrub-scrub, mixed, and open landcover types, but not linear paths. Overall, wild turkeys translocated into forested landscapes of east Texas selected for early successional and other open landcover types. Prior to translocation attempts in forest-dominated landscapes, managers should consider ways to increase availability of open landcover types with herbaceous cover for nesting and brood rearing.
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