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Monday, January 25 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Integrated Assessment of Harvested Wild Turkey Populations In Southern Michigan: A State-Space Approach

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AUTHORS: Bryan S. Stevens*, Michigan State University; James R. Bence, Michigan State University; William F. Porter, Michigan State University; Michael L. Jones, Michigan State University; David R. Luukkonen, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division

ABSTRACT: Methods for assessing abundance and understanding dynamics of wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo populations using widely available data have been recognized as a critical missing piece of turkey management for over 50 years. Turkeys are cryptic and irregularly distributed over large landscapes, and thus many traditional wildlife sampling techniques requiring individual capture or high rates of detection are either too costly or ineffective for assessing population patterns over broad scales. Consequently, hunter harvest remains the primary data collected on turkey populations in most areas. We used existing hunter harvest, effort, and auxiliary data sets from southern Michigan to develop an integrated model of turkey population and harvest dynamics based on the statistical framework of state-space models. This framework allowed us to effectively use all available data sources to simultaneously estimate patterns of turkey populations through time. The models also allowed us to evaluate hypotheses about the structural dynamics of turkey populations in their ancestral range of southern Michigan. Here we discuss development of the modeling framework, data sources used, and preliminary results from fitting these models. We also briefly discuss future use of these models for assessing harvest management strategies for turkeys in southern Michigan.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Vandenberg B