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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Wednesday, November 4 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Survival and Recruitment of Male Eastern Wild Turkeys Succeeding Implications of No-Jake Harvest Regulation in Arkansas

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Douglas C. Osborne, University of Arkansas; Jason P., Honey, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Recruitment of sub-adult male eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris; hereafter, juvenile) into the 2-year old male age-class is vital to maintain sustainable population dynamics, hunter harvest rates, and hunter satisfaction. In Arkansas, statewide spring turkey harvest has declined at an annual rate of 23% since 2003. To alleviate this declining trend and increase adult male turkey carryover into the spring hunting season the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission eliminated the fall turkey season during 2009 and implemented a statewide no-jake harvest regulation during 2011 (youth hunters are exempt and allowed to harvest one juvenile male turkey annually). The annual spring harvest rate of adult male turkeys has increased 15.7% since changes to the hunting regulations. We estimated survival rates of 41 juvenile male turkeys in Arkansas during 2013–2014 using satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) transmitters. We tracked juvenile male turkeys in 2 distinct physiographic regions of Arkansas that exhibited differing spring turkey harvest strategies including the Ozark Mountain region with unrestricted hunting access and the Gulf Coastal Plain with permit-only access. Juvenile survival appeared to be greater in the upland mixed hardwoods of the Ozark Mountains (0.71) compared to the short-rotation pine (Pinus spp.) plantation landscape of the Gulf Coastal Plain (0.51). However, survival rates of those juveniles that lived to become adults (>14 months of age) was greater in the Gulf Coastal Plain (0.75) where permit-only hunting for spring turkey is practiced compared to the Ozark Mountains (0.21) where hunter access was unrestricted. Overall, recent changes to turkey harvest regulations have been perceived positively by Arkansas turkey hunters as they report seeing and hearing more gobbling males while hunting during the 2014 spring season. We suggest the no-jake harvest regulation was an effective management tool for improving adult male carryover and subsequently turkey hunter success and satisfaction in Arkansas.

Wednesday November 4, 2015 9:40am - 10:00am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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