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Eastern Wild Turkey Reproductive Ecology in Frequently-Burned Longleaf Pine Savannas

We looked at reproductive ecology of hens in a longleaf pine forest managed intensively with prescribed fire.  We found that nest success was 42%, which is high compared to most populations.  We found that only 5 nests were influenced by fire, and 2 of them hatched.  We also found that brood survival was 32% during the first 2 weeks after hatching, and 64% thereafter.  Hens tended to nest in areas that were scheduled to be burned during the subsequent year, which is an important finding.  Our findings suggested that applying fire on a 1-2 year return interval depending on the stand was compatible with managing for turkeys, and that growing-season fires had little impact on turkey reproduction.

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