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Useable Space Management for Wild Turkeys

THROWBACK TT Aug 10th, 2021 | This Turkey Tuesday is about useable space – as turkey managers, we need to ensure that as much of the landscape as possible can be used successfully by birds. This figure shows point locations of 5 hens captured together, the points span from February into July. Note the “hole” in the center – basically, these birds had broad areas in the center of their home ranges that were not useable, which included clearcuts and poorly managed pine stands – the 2nd and 3rd pictures show what those areas looked like. The end result was, these birds had to enlarge their home ranges to find suitable habitat, which forces them to balance energy gain vs loss. The 4th and 5th pictures show what the birds used – open, managed pine forests that had benefitted from selective thinning and prescribed fire, and intact hardwoods that offered roosts, open foraging areas, and cooler temperatures during summer. The take home is, if you have areas on your property where you can’t move freely or see, neither can turkeys. Seek ways to create as much useable space as possible – which starts with creating and maintaining vegetation communities where birds can see and move through easily.

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