Georgia DNR biologists work hard every day to make the best decisions for the citizens of Georgia and the management of our wildlife resources. This often requires extensive research studies to make well informed decisions for the future.
Why are we studying this and why is it important?
Turkey hunting is one of the most popular hunting opportunities for Georgia hunters. Recent surveys have shown that hunter satisfaction is related to hearing turkeys gobble and seeing male turkeys.
The three main things biologists want to determine are:
- How is gobbling activity affected by hunters and natural predators such as coyotes?
- What areas and habitat are male wild turkeys using during the reproductive season?
- Laying and incubation behavior of female turkeys.
Researchers know there’s a pattern between gobbling activity and increased testosterone levels during the breeding season. But, they’re unsure how other environmental factors influence gobbling. This study will also help researchers understand habitat characteristics and vegetation types associated with gobbling activity. It will also shed light on how male turkeys behave before, during, and after hunting season.
Where is the study happening?
2 WMAs located in the Piedmont of Georgia: B.F. Grant and Cedar Creek WMA.
How long will the study take place?
This initial part of the study end in 2021.
Who’s working on answering the questions?
Georgia DNR biologists and University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources professors, students, and researchers.
How does the study happen?
It starts by catching adult and juvenile male turkeys using rocket nets in the winter. Once the birds are captured, each individual is banded and fitted with a GPS transmitter that will track their location every hour during daylight hours in the spring. In the fall and winter, the transmitters will also record a location once daily. The transmitters will also record a night roost location for the duration of the study. Researchers will use radio telemetry to track the birds during the study to monitor survival rates and collect data on habitat use. Researchers will also radio collar coyotes to collect more information about how coyote behavior between January and June effects wild turkey behavior. This time frame was chosen because both coyotes and turkey breed during this period. Autonomous recording units (ARUs) will be placed across the WMAs to collect gobbling activity data.
How long until we know something?
More information will be available by May 2019. However, the coyote study portion will not be available until 2020.
We will have no gobblers left to monitor if the hog population continues to go unchecked.
what a valuable product for us turkey hunters cant wait to read the study results
Oh my! I have hunted these guys for 55 years and the answers are not difficult to those questions. Study the bob white quail a little better if a study is needed. Who knows they may be the same🤷🏼♂️
Coyote populations are increasing, affecting the turkeys. Opening day not one shot fired, no gobbling what so ever.
Hunted Di-Lane this late season and witnessed fresh hog poop with a milky white substance mixed with it. I walked maybe 30 yards and there in the high-line field road was the busted turkey egg…… Fresh hog sign everywhere. They had rooted everything near the high-line toward the creek…. DNR has an almost impossible task with the eradication but they are making a good effort.. Hunters must shoot any turkey/quail predators when opportunity arises…..
Well here is is 2020 and we still dont know anything more than two springs ago. Why are they hiding the results of the study?
This is a funded study and it should be transparent with the sportsmen of GA. We should be updated at a minimum bi-monthly. People across the state are concerned and want to know whats happening and why we are seeing so many hens without Poults this spring…Especially after the statewide gobbler massacre that occurred during the “2020 Corona-virus spring gobbler killing festival”. I would be surprised if there were enough gobblers left to breed the hens.
If GA doesn’t back down on the gobbler limit and move and shorten the seasons all will be lost and this population will NEVER rebound to what it once was.
Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division
The researchers involved in this study have recently published two papers related to the gobbling research. In short, this research brought to light some fascinating insights into male turkey behavior in the spring. The researchers found that while female turkey reproductive activity had a positive effect on gobbling, hunting activity—and removal of males—actually had a negative effect on gobbling activity on these two sites. Additionally, they found that males exhibited some interesting roosting behaviors as well. Males tend to move roost sites frequently throughout the reproductive season, and while they chose different sites based on hunting activity, they did not increase their movements between roost sites. Our state turkey biologist would be happy to discuss this research with you, along with your concerns regarding our turkey population declines. Please call the Game Management main office at 706-557-3350 and we will put you in touch with the state turkey biologist. She will also be able to direct you to online platforms where the researchers are actively providing updates on their research as well as other interesting information regarding turkeys in the Southeast!