As part of a cooperative research project to investigate impacts of autumn either-sex hunting on female wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), we evaluated the effect of trapping period under different autumn hunting scenarios by capturing and radiomarking 1,544 birds from 1989 through 1994. We compared the effects of trapping before autumn hunting season to the more typical post-hunting winter trapping. Survival and causes of mortality showed a similar interaction between trapping period, age, and length of autumn hunting season. The primary effect was decreased survival of juveniles captured during autumn. Mean survival for juveniles captured during autumn (Ŝ = 0.50) was lower than for juveniles captured during winter (Ŝ = 0.73, P < 0.001), and adults captured during autumn (Ŝ = 0.64, P < 0.001) or winter (Ŝ = 0.61, P = 0.002). The negative effects on juvenile turkeys was greater for longer autumn hunting seasons. Survival differences were attributed to differential susceptibility to harvest; the largest difference in mortality resulted from legal harvest, which was 5.5 times greater for juveniles captured in the autumn before hunting season (18%) than for winter-captured juveniles (3% P < 0.004). Autumn-captured juveniles' age and inexperience compounded by flock disruption and stress of trapping increased their susceptibility to autumn harvest. (WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETIN 34(1):159–166; 2006)
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