Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science
The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) has been an important game bird for the cultures and livelihood of peoples living in North America for centuries. Understanding how predation pressures affect wild turkey behavior can help us better manage turkey populations. I looked at three mesopredators: raccoons (Procyon lotor), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and coyotes (Canis latrans) to see how they influence turkey presence at the White Rock Ecosystem Recreational Area, northwest Arkansas. I employed the use of 16 Moultrie trail cameras to ennumerate wild turkey and mesopredators at 29 sites. I deployed the cameras during late winter and early spring during 2013 and 2014 and ran the cameras for one week each. I found no significant difference in the number of detections of turkeys between sites with coyotes or raccoons and those without. Raccoon and coyote presence apparently had little influence on population abundance of wild turkeys. There was however, a positive correlation between gray fox and turkey abundances. I found that mesopredator abundance had little to no relationship with wild turkey abundance at my study site. Based on my results, the need for mesopredator control to increase wild turkey populations appears unwarranted.
McMichen, James, "The effects of mesopredator presence on population abundances of Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)" (2017). Biological Sciences Undergraduate Honors Theses. 23.