WILD TURKEY POPULATION DYNAMICS AND BROOD SURVIVAL PROJECT REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2023
Provided by Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Oklahoma State University
Wild turkey genetics, nesting success, and brood survival are among the research topics in a 4.5-year study launched at the beginning of 2022 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, other state and federal entities, and private landowners working together to address wild turkey population dynamics.
Southeastern Population Study Area: Researchers attempted rocket-net captures on seven occasions in February and were successful twice. On Feb. 9, six hens and two jakes were captured. On Feb. 21, six hens were caught. At the end of February, the 12 new hens were carrying transmitters, in addition to the eight remaining hens from 2022. Researchers are seeking new flocks and monitoring 14 bait sites.
Southwestern Population Study Area: The team continued scouting for and baiting potential trap sites and securing access to private lands as necessary. Efforts with walk-in traps began in February. Eight females and three males were caught using walk-in traps, and all of the captured hens were fitted with transmitters. Two drop-nets for turkey capture have been erected. Depending on the success of the walk-in traps, the drop-nets could be employed in early March.
Genetics Study: The first batch of tissue samples from the 2022 season have been selected for processing and will be sent to the laboratory. To collect genetic samples, 200 tissue sampling kits were sent to the Wildlife Department for distribution to Game Wardens across the state. An additional 100 sampling kits were distributed among ODWC biologists. Several sampling kits were sent to the National Wild Turkey Federation, Turkeys for Tomorrow, and the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Muscogee (Creek) Nations.
(Financial support for this publication was provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation through the Wildlife Restoration Program, F21AF02702 [W-216-R-1 and Oklahoma State University.)