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1 April 2004 EFFECTS OF FALL HUNTING ON SURVIVAL OF MALE WILD TURKEYS IN VIRGINIA AND WEST VIRGINIA
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Abstract

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources conducted a band-recovery study on male eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) during 1989–1996. Our main objectives were to estimate survival and band-reporting rates and to determine whether longer fall hunting seasons resulted in lower male turkey survival. Length of fall turkey hunting season varied from zero to 9 weeks at 3 study areas, while spring hunting season was relatively constant at 4 or 5 weeks. We attached reward leg bands to 473 male wild turkeys. Effects of different fall seasons were evaluated using survival and band-reporting rates. We used program MARK to construct a series of models including hunting-season structure, age (juvenile or adult), year, and period (fall or winter–summer) effects to estimate survival and band-reporting rates and to evaluate the effects of length of fall hunting on survival and band-reporting rates. Annual survival rates in our 3 study areas (range = 0.24–0.27) were lower than most studies. Survival estimates were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the winter–summer (range = 0.16–0.18) than in the fall (range = 0.58–0.62). We found little difference in band-recovery estimates between age classes in the fall, but adults had significantly higher band-recovery estimates in the winter–summer. Male wild turkey mean annual survival did not decrease as fall hunting season length increased. In contrast, band-recovery rates increased as the length of the fall season increased. If band-recovery estimates indexed hunting mortality, then hunting mortality increased as length of fall hunting season increased. Moreover, if band-recovery rates represented hunting mortality, then the constancy of survival estimates among areas with different lengths of fall hunting season, coupled with the pattern of band-recovery rates, suggest that fall hunting mortality is not additive for male wild turkeys in Virginia and West Virginia, USA.

GARY W. NORMAN, MARY M. CONNER, JAMES C. PACK, and GARY C. WHITE "EFFECTS OF FALL HUNTING ON SURVIVAL OF MALE WILD TURKEYS IN VIRGINIA AND WEST VIRGINIA," Journal of Wildlife Management 68(2), 393-404, (1 April 2004). https://doi.org/10.2193/0022-541X(2004)068[0393:EOFHOS]2.0.CO;2
Received: 9 September 2002; Accepted: 16 January 2004; Published: 1 April 2004
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