Upland Update: June Ends With 15 Turkey Hens Being Tracked, No Poults

Jul 19, 2022
UU june22 report
JOSEPH RICHARDS/OCFWRU
Wild Turkey Project researchers in southeastern Oklahoma were monitoring 15 wild turkey hens with radio transmitters at the end of June 2022. 

Wild Turkey Population Dynamics and Brood Survival Project Report for June 2022 

Provided by Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Oklahoma State University 

   Wild turkey genetics is among the areas of a 4.5-year study launched at the beginning of 2022 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to address wild turkey population dynamics and brood survival.

   Wild Turkey Genetics Study: Supplies for processing DNA samples are being received. Once DNA has been extracted using Dneasy blood and tissue kits, quantity and quality will be assessed for each sample. These samples will then be ready for further analysis.

   Southeastern Study: Researchers continued tracking wild turkey hens and monitoring nesting attempts. At the beginning of June, four nests were being monitored, with hatch dates projected early in June. Of those four nests, one hatched successfully, one nest was depredated, and two nests failed due to the hens being depredated.

   The successful nest hatched June 7; it was a re-nest with a total of four eggs, three of which hatched. Researchers captured the three poults from that nest the following day and fitted them with transmitters. The day after the poults were fitted, all three were depredated. One transmitter was recovered alongside remains that indicated mammalian predation, and another was later found inside a cottonmouth snake.

   On June 8, all three poults tagged in May, along with their hen, were depredated by a mammalian predator. Researchers also confirmed the deaths of two hens that moved to private property to which researchers did not have access during the nesting season.

   During June, one additional nest was initiated, but it also was depredated.

At this writing, the Southeast project has 15 radio-marked hens alive, but no active nests or live poults. The project has not documented any successful broods this year for the radio-marked hens. Researchers will continue to monitor daily movements, survival, and any potential re-nesting attempts through July.

   Southwestern Study: Researcher Cody Griffin met with landowners and toured potential study sites near Sandy Sanders Wildlife Management Area. He was also able to join the study team in the Southeast and participate in poult capture and learn the suturing process for transmitter attachment to poults. Further, he continued reviewing existing literature and developing research ideas.

(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.)