Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
James T. Anderson.
Extensive research has been conducted on the eastern wild turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) in West Virginia, but research on male wild turkey home range characteristics is lacking. To address this, I proposed to quantify home range shape by the use of eccentricity (E: circle is E = 1) and to estimate the least-squares cross validation fixed-kernel 95% and 50% utilization distribution (UD) annual and 95% UD seasonal home range as well as minimum convex polygon (MCP) home range estimate of male wild turkey on 2 study areas in West Virginia. I estimated the home range size of adult and juvenile male wild turkey during the April-May spring hunting season period of 2006 and 2007 in north-central West Virginia. Additionally, I compared the home range size of the 2-year and the 3-year+ age classes of adult male wild turkey. I tested a relation between home range size and shape and mast conditions, fate, and population estimates of male wild turkey.;I radio-equipped and monitored a total of 55 male wild turkey from September 2004 through August 2007. Statewide adult (831.5 ha, SD = 646.5) and juvenile (868.3 ha, SD = 497.7) annual 95% UD home range were similar (P = 0.38), with the smallest home ranges (311.2 ha, SD = 79.2) in the southern ecological region. Annual MCP home range averaged 963.2 ha (SD = 678.2) for adults and 794.3 ha (SD = 401.8) for juveniles. My results fell within the reported results of various other male eastern wild turkey studies. I compared my home range results with those of a regional female eastern wild turkey study.;Both adult and juvenile male wild turkeys had a non-circular home range shape (P ≤ 0.001). I estimated a difference ( P = 0.02) between the home range shape of adult (x¯ (E) = 2.421, SD = 1.516) and juvenile (x¯ (E) = 1.624, SD = 2.894) male wild turkeys when 6 juveniles that had dispersed approximately 5,400 m were removed from the comparison. I estimated a weak relation (P = 0.056) between juvenile male wild turkey fall-winter home range shape and hard mast conditions. No relation ( P > 0.05) was detected between home range shape and ecological regions, population size estimates, or fate of radioed male wild turkeys. No significant difference (P = 0.14) in the home range shape of juveniles was estimated between the non-traditional fall hunting and traditional fall hunting counties, but adults have a more circular home range shape in the traditional counties. I estimated (P = 0.004) that juveniles had a more circular (x¯ (E) = 1.501, SD = 0.438) home range shape than do adults (x¯ (E) = 2.239, SD = 0.471) during the April-May period, whereas no significant difference (P = 0.22) was detected between the 2-year old and 3-year+ adult age classes during the same period. The use of eccentricity worked to quantify home range shape in male wild turkeys. I suggest the use of eccentricity in home range shape analysis.;During the April-May spring hunting season period, adult male ( n = 7) wild turkey had a larger home range (x¯ = 410.5 ha, SD = 74.8) than did juvenile (n = 12, x¯ = 163.5 ha, SD = 74.7) during the period (P < 0.001). I found no difference in the home range size of the 2-year age class and the 3-year+ age class of adult male wild turkey (P = 0.46). I detected a relation (P < 0.001) between population size and the April-May home range size of male wild turkey. I suspect that movement related to breeding behavior was a factor in adults having larger home ranges during the period. My results can benefit resource managers and spring turkey hunters by providing behavior information on the male wild turkey home range characteristics during the spring turkey hunting season. My results give resource managers knowledge on the home range dynamics of male wild turkey to facilitate the effective management of the resource with the development of management plans. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).
Rauch, Steven E., "Home range characteristics of the male eastern wild turkey in West Virginia" (2009). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 2827.