Factors influencing wild turkey hen survival in southcentral Iowa

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 


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A decline in the population of eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) in southcentral Iowa necessitated more current estimates of population parameters. Survival of 126 eastern wild turkey hens in southcentral Iowa was investigated during 1993-96. Estimates of annual survival averaged 0.676 ?? 0.048% (x?? ?? SE) for adults and 0.713 ?? 0.125 for subadults. Mammalian predators, primarily coyotes (Canis latrans) and red fox (Vulpes fulva) accounted for 64% of all documented mortality. Age-specific annual survival distributions differed within years (P < 0.03), but no difference was detected in survival between age classes across years (P = 0.49). Based on chronological dates, survival of adult hens differed among seasons across years (P = 0.03). However, seasonal survival was not different when estimates were based on hen behavior (p = 0.48). Risk of mortality for hens increased by 2.0% for every 100-m increase in dispersal distance, decreased by 2.0% for every 10-ha increase in home range size, and decreased by 3.5% for each 1.0% increase in proportion of home range in woody cover. Although the exact cause of the population decline remains unknown, we suggest it was more likely related to a decrease in production than changes in hen survival. Declining turkey populations would likely benefit more from management designed to increase reproduction rather than hen survival.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors influencing wild turkey hen survival in southcentral Iowa
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 63
Issue 2
Year Published 1999
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 731
Last page 738