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3 October 2022 Documenting Wild Turkey Breeding Patterns in North Carolina with Camera Traps
Chase Carey, Ashley Lohr, Roland Kays
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Meleagris gallopavo L. (Wild Turkey) is a valued game species that is sensitive to the timing of hunting seasons, which generally overlap with breeding, but can vary spatially or temporally. Here, we analyze the timing of turkey reproduction across North Carolina by examining camera-trap images collected from 527 sites over 3 years. We found a peak of male strutting behavior at Julian week 13 and, based on the age of poults photographed later in the summer, estimated the peak of egg hatching at week 22. The timing of strutting significantly varied across years but not across the 3 ecoregions of the state. Understanding turkey breeding and reproductive chronology can be useful when agencies set hunting seasons to balance the interest of hunters while minimizing potential impacts to reproduction.

Chase Carey, Ashley Lohr, and Roland Kays "Documenting Wild Turkey Breeding Patterns in North Carolina with Camera Traps," Southeastern Naturalist 21(3), 220-234, (3 October 2022).
Published: 3 October 2022
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