Latitude and daily-weather effects on gobbling activity of wild turkeys in Mississippi
Weather has been recognized as a density independent factor influencing the abundance, distribution, and behavior of vertebrates. Male wild turkeys’ (Meleagris gallopavo) breeding behavior includes vocalizations and courtship displays to attract females, the phenology of which can vary with latitude. State biologists design spring turkey-hunting season frameworks centered on annual vocalization patterns to maximize hunter engagement. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has traditionally instituted a statewide, 7-week, spring harvest season. However, hunters routinely argue that different peaks in gobbling activity across the state exist. The objective of this study was to determine whether differences in peak gobbling activity existed across a latitudinal gradient of Mississippi and assess the effect of weather on gobbling. During 2008 and 2009, we conducted a statewide gobbling survey. We used generalized additive mixed models to describe the probability and frequency of gobbling activity within northern and southern regions of the state. We also investigated the effect of daily weather conditions on gobbling activity. Our results revealed an approximate 10–14-day difference in peak gobbling activity between southern and northern Mississippi. The majority of all gobbling activity occurred within the current spring harvest framework. Perhaps more importantly, gobbling activity was more prevalent on days of regionally dry conditions (i.e., less humid) according to the Spatial Synoptic Classification. Our results provide information on gobbling activity phenology relative to hunting-season dates and weather-response information. Our approach may be particularly applicable in states with relatively shorter seasons or highly variable daily weather conditions that moderate gobbling frequency.
KeywordsCall counts Generalized additive mixed model Phenology Road survey Spatial Synoptic Classification
We thank MDWFP staff, especially S. Edwards, R. Seiss, and A. Butler, and project technicians for the logistical support. We also would like to thank Darren Miller, an anonymous reviewer, and the editor-in-chief for their review of a previous version of this manuscript and for their helpful comments.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
This project was funded by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Funds through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP; Project W-48-45, Study 58).
- Baily RW, Rinell KT (1967) Events in the turkey year. In: Hewitt OH (ed) The wild turkey and its management. The Wildl. Society, The Wildl. Society, Washington, D. C., USA, pp 73–91Google Scholar
- Bevill WV Jr (1975) Some factors influencing gobbling activity among wild turkeys. Proc of the Annual Conference of Southeast Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 27:62–73Google Scholar
- Davis RE, Rossier CE, Enfield KB (2012) The impact of weather on influenza and pneumonia mortality in New York City, 1975–2002: a retrospective study. PlosOne 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034091
- Healy WM, (1992) Behavior. In: Dickson JG (ed) The wild turkey, biology and management. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, pp 46–65Google Scholar
- Healy WM, Powell SM (2000) Wild turkey harvest management: biology, strategies, and techniques. U. S. Fish and Wildl. Service Biological Technical Publication, BTP-R5001–1999, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USAGoogle Scholar
- Henderson JE, Grado SC, Munn IA, Jones WD (2010) Economic impacts of wildlife and fisheries associated recreation on the Mississippi economy: an input-output analysis. For. and Wildl. Res. Center, Res. Bull. FO398. Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, USAGoogle Scholar
- Hoffman RW (1990) Chronology of gobbling and nesting activities of Merriam’s wild turkeys. - Proc. of the Natl. Wild Turk. Symposium 6:25–31Google Scholar
- Kienzler JM, Little TW, Fuller WA (1996) Effects of weather, incubation, and hunting on gobbling activity in wild turkeys. Proc Natl Wild Turk Symp 7:61–68Google Scholar
- Kurzejeski EW, Vangilder LD (1992) Population management. In: Dickson JG (ed) The wild turkey, biology and management. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, pp 165–184Google Scholar
- Malan G, Little RM, Crowe TM (1993) The effects of hunting effort and weather on hunting success and population dynamics of Namaqua sandgrouse. S Afr J Wildl Res 23:107–111Google Scholar
- Miller DA, Hurst GA, Leopold BD (1997b) Factors affecting gobbling activity on wild turkeys in central Mississippi. Proc. of the Annual Conference of Southeast. Assoc Fish Wildl Agencies 51:352–361Google Scholar
- Moss R (1986) Rain, breeding success and distribution of Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus and black grouse Tetrao tetrix in Scotland. Ibis 128:65–72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.1986.tb02093.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Notaro M, Schummer M, Zhong Y, Vavrus S, Van Den Elsen L, Coluccy J, Hoving C (2016) Projected influences of changes in weather severity on autumn-winter distributions of dabbling ducks in the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways during the twenty-first century. PLoS One 11(12):e0167506. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167506 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Oleson JJ, He CZ (2004) Space-time modeling for the Missouri turkey hunting survey. Environ Ecol Stat 11:85–101. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:EEST.0000011366.68489.d8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Palmer WE, Hurst GA, Lint JR (1990) Effort, success, and characteristics of spring turkey hunters on Tallahala Wildl. Management area, Mississippi. Proc Natl Wild Turk Symp 6:208–213Google Scholar
- Palumbo MD (2010) Influence of latitudinal and climate variation, and field observations, on spring gobbling phenology of wild turkey in Mississippi. Thesis, Mississippi State UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Porter WF, Ludwig JR (1980) Use of gobbling call counts to monitor the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys. Proc Natl Wild Turk Symp 4:61–68Google Scholar
- R Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL: https://www.R-project.org/
- Whitaker DM, Pack J, Norman GW, Stauffer DF, Klopfer SD (2005) A range-wide meta-analysis of wild turkey nesting phenology and spring season opening dates. Proc Natl Wild Turk Symp 9:351–360Google Scholar
- Williams LE (1984) The voice and vocabulary of the wild turkey. Gainesville, Florida, USAGoogle Scholar
- Wood SN, Scheipl F (2014) gamm4: generalized additive mixed models using mgcv and lme4. R package version 0.2-3.URL: https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=gamm4