Fall harvest rates of female wild turkeys in New York
May 2013 - March 2017
- NY Department of Environmental Conservation
The primary form of population management for wild turkeys is by conducting a fall either-sex harvest. However, harvesting more than 10% of the fall population is believed to lead to a decrease in future turkey population abundance (Healy and Powell 1999). Currently, fall harvest rates in New York are unknown and harvest and survival rates likely vary according to management unit or physiographic region. To effectively manage wild turkey populations, without over harvesting the resource, it can be useful to know the rate at which hen turkeys are harvested in the fall. One difficulty with estimating fall harvest rates of wild turkeys is that substantial mortality occurs between the time of capture and the first hunting season. This is a problem for standard tag-recovery estimators of harvest rate because these models assume no mortality between date of capture and the first hunting season. Consequently, I will use an estimator developed by Buderman (2012) that uses survival of a sample of hens fitted with radio-transmitters to estimate the survival rate between tagging and harvest.