Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Graduate Research Assistant, Range and Wildlife Management, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute
Developing Wild Turkey Survey Methodology of Fort Wolters and Camp Maxey Training Centers
The Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) and the Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) are two wild turkey subspecies found in north Texas. Recent breeding bird surveys show that turkey populations in Texas are at a standstill if not a steady decline. As a consequence to their growing popularity by hunters, surveys must be taken in order to detect population trends. Identifying the optimal survey methodology in order to determine accurate wild turkey population densities is a key factor used in deciding the intensiveness of their management. The objectives of this project are to: 1) Determine the precision of wild turkey survey protocols in estimating wild turkey density while proposing an efficient protocol for estimating wild turkey abundance in the major habitats of both centers and 2) Develop habitat suitability models that will enable Texas Military Department staff to determine which habitats are optimal for harboring turkeys and integrating those models with survey protocol to identify protocols that provide the most precise estimate of turkey abundance. The survey methods being tested are road surveys, point count surveys, and roost count surveys. To accomplish this, study sites will be visited multiple times a year in which all survey methods being tested will be conducted. The amount of turkeys observed during each of the three surveys will be recorded in which statistical analysis will be performed to conclude any differences between them. Data collection will take place in 2018 and 2019 between the months of January and March.