Influences of forest cover type and structure on seasonal and daily habitat use of wild turkeys in southern Georgia
Juhan, Steven Michael
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Information regarding wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) habitat use on northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) plantations in the Southeast is limited. These plantations are largely comprised of low-basal area upland pine forests that are frequently burned or otherwise manipulated as required for northern bobwhite management. This management creates unique forest structure and often relegates mast-producing hardwood species to narrow drainage areas such as creek bottoms and swamp margins. Using radio telemetry on three southern Georgia bobwhite plantations, I investigated seasonal and daily habitat use in relation to forest cover type and structure. I found that hen turkeys preferred hardwood drain cover types in nearly all seasons while gobblers preferred stands of low-density upland pine. Hens were located in areas of higher stem densities and higher basal areas than were gobblers. Stem densities and basal areas were highest at locations of nonnesting hens. If bobwhite and wild turkey management are to occur conjointly, forest cover type and structural diversity must be an important consideration.