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European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 57–65 | Cite as

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) association to roads: implications for distance sampling

  • Devin R. Erxleben
  • Matthew J. Butler
  • Warren B. Ballard
  • Mark C. Wallace
  • Markus J. Peterson
  • Nova J. Silvy
  • William P. KuvleskyJr
  • David G. Hewitt
  • Stephen J. DeMaso
  • Jason B. Hardin
  • Megan K. Dominguez-Brazil
Original Paper

Abstract

Road-based distance sampling is a common technique used to estimate the density of many wildlife species but potential biases exist unless the target population is randomly distributed around roads. Our objective was to determine if and when Rio Grande wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia; RGWT) were randomly distributed around roads to identify time periods in which road-based surveys would be most appropriate. We used triangulated locations obtained from radiotelemetry of RGWTs in the Edwards Plateau (2001–2003), Rolling Plains (2000–2006), and South Texas (2003–2006) ecoregions. Using a geographic information system, we conducted a use and availability analysis by sex, season, and time of day for each ecoregion to determine RGWT use of areas near roads (<200 m). We found the most appropriate time to conduct road-based distance sampling was from 1 December to 15 March during morning or afternoon. Our results suggested road-based surveys conducted during these periods should yield generally unbiased results in the Rolling Plains and Edwards Plateau ecoregions. We recommend researchers and managers investigate animal distributions around roads before implementing road-based monitoring programs for other wildlife species.

Keywords

Bias Distance sampling Distribution Ecoregion Line transects Meleagris gallopavo intermedia Rio Grande wild turkey Roads Texas 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Tech University, The National Wild Turkey Federation, and The Texas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. We thank researchers from Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University–Kingsville, and Texas Tech University for allowing use of their data for these analyses. We also thank the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation. We thank the Gene Howe WMA; the Matador WMA; private ranches in Donley, Collingsworth, Bandera, Real, and Kerr counties; and King Ranch, Inc. for allowing research on their properties. We also thank R. Howard of the San Tomas Hunting Camp and Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., and B. Richardson of the Mota Bonita Hunting Camp and Halliburton, Inc. for providing meals and logistical support in South Texas. Many thanks to R. Phillips, S. McKenzie, R. Swearingin, R. Walker, B. Petersen, J. Brunjes IV, G. Hall, R. Houchin, R. Huffman, T. Barnett, D. Holdstock, B. Spears, J. Bullock, A. Ortega-Santos, C. Lawson, S. Burns, R. Guaernos-Altamirano, E. Reyes, J. Martinez, R. Schrum, J. Montalvo, S. Vasquez, D. Jones, C. Randel III, J. Schaap, and B. Willsey for collecting radiotelemetry data. We also thank B. Collier, M. Conner, and 2 anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions on this manuscript. This is Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources technical publication T-9-1172. This research complies with current Texas and US laws.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devin R. Erxleben
    • 1
    • 5
  • Matthew J. Butler
    • 1
  • Warren B. Ballard
    • 1
  • Mark C. Wallace
    • 1
  • Markus J. Peterson
    • 2
  • Nova J. Silvy
    • 2
  • William P. KuvleskyJr
    • 3
  • David G. Hewitt
    • 3
  • Stephen J. DeMaso
    • 3
    • 6
  • Jason B. Hardin
    • 4
  • Megan K. Dominguez-Brazil
    • 3
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources ManagementTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research InstituteTexas A&M University–KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA
  4. 4.Texas Parks and Wildlife DepartmentPalestineUSA
  5. 5.Texas Parks and Wildlife DepartmentBrownwoodUSA
  6. 6.Gulf Coast Joint VentureNational Wetlands Research CenterLafayetteUSA
  7. 7.Llano River Field StationTexas Tech University at JunctionJunctionUSA

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