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    Description

    Knowledge of Merriam's wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) resource selection in the context of landscape attributes is an important asset for managing resources on multiple-use public lands. We investigated resource selection for foraging by Merriam's wild turkey broods in the southern Black Hills, South Dakota. We collected macro- and microhabitat data from 48 radiotagged female wild turkeys during brood-rearing from 2001 to 2003. Broods selected meadows for macrohabitat resource selection, whereas dense stands of mature ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and wildfire-burned habitats were avoided. Within all ponderosa pine structural stages, or pooled classes of stands composed of varying tree density and size, brood foraging sites were predicted best by greater total herbaceous understory cover, greater diameter at breast height (dbh) of large trees, and closer to vegetation association edges. In open pine stands with 40% canopy cover, broods selected resources with greater total herbaceous cover and closer to vegetation association edges. Within the meadow vegetation community, broods selected resources that were closer to vegetation association edges, usually meadow­ponderosa-pine forest ecotones. We recommend that managers maintain a range of 1,170-1,306 kg/ha herbaceous biomass through August. Silviculture practices that promote or maintain pine savannas with larger dbh trees are recommended. Because broods selected meadows with fewer small ponderosa pine trees and, given the importance of understory herbaceous cover, we recommend management that limits pine encroachment into meadows.

    Publication Notes

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    Citation

    Lehman, Chad P.; Rumble, Mark A.; Flake, Lester D.; Thompson, Daniel J. 2011. Resource selection for foraging by female Merriam's wild turkeys with poults in the southern Black Hills, South Dakota. Proceedings of the National Wild Turkey Symposium. 10: 301-312.

    Keywords

    Black Hills, brood, meadow, Meleagris gallopavo merriami, Merriam's wild turkey, radiotelemetry, resource selection, South Dakota

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