Coyote predation on the Rio Grande wild turkey in the Texas Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas

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Title: Coyote predation on the Rio Grande wild turkey in the Texas Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas
Author: Houchin, Rachael Lindsey
Abstract: From January 2000 to August 2004 , we collected data on Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo intermedia ) survival , cause -specific mortality , movements , habitat use , roost use , and nesting at 4 study sites (3 in the Texas Panhandle : Matador Wildlife Management Area (MWMA ) near Paducah , Texas , Salt Fork of the Red River private land holdings (SF ) near Clarendon , Texas , and Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area (GHWMA ) near Canadian , Texas , and 1 site on the Cimarron National Grasslands (CNG ) near Elkhart , Kansas ) . During 2000 -2002 turkey survival across the 4 sites was about 50 % (Ballard et al . 2002 ) . Coyotes were the most frequently cited predators of Rio Grande wild turkeys during the first 3 years of our study , identified in 147 out of 313 (47 % ) predation events (Ballard et al . 2003 ) . We wanted to further study the impact of coyotes on adult (= 1 year old ) and juvenile (6 months to 1 year old ) Rio Grande wild turkeys in the Texas Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas , by examining and comparing relative abundances and food habits of coyotes at our four study sites . To estimate relative abundance of carnivore species at our study sites , we used scent stations as our primary method and scat surveys as a secondary method to corroborate scent stations . We examined the food habits of coyotes at our study sites through scat analysis , using scats collected from our scat surveys . Proportions of prey species were expressed using percent of scats (POS ) and percent of occurrence (POO ) . Scent station visitation by coyotes was not different among sites in any season (Fall 2003 ?2 = 7 .5067 , P = 0 .0574 ; Spring 2003 ?2 = 1 .6263 , P = 0 .6535 Summer 2003 x ?2 = 4 .4270 , P = 0 .2189 and Winter 2004 ?2 = 1 .6442 , P = 0 .6494 , Table 2 .1 ) . Raccoons (n = 37 ) were the second -most frequent visitor , and were significantly different among sites during each period (Fall 2003 ?2 = 17 .2083 , P = 0 .0006 ; Spring 2003 ?2 = 8 .8584 , P= 0 .312 Summer 2003 ?2 = 7 .9598 , P = 0 .0468 and Winter 2004 ?2 = 8 .6458 , P = 0 .0344 ) . Raccoons were detected more frequently at the SF ( ?2 = 4 .5 , P = 0 .0339 ) and MWMA ( ?2 = 4 .5 , P = 0 .0339 ) than the CNG site during the Spring sampling period . During the Summer period , raccoons were detected more frequently at SF scent stations than at MWMA ( ?2 = 4 .35 , P = 0 .0370 ) . Raccoons were detected more frequently in the Fall period at the SF than all other sites (CNG ?2 = 10 .28 , P = 0 .0013 ; MWMA ?2 = 7 .02 , P = 0 .0081 ; GHWMA ?2 = 5 .11 , P = 0 .0237 ) . During the Winter period , raccoons were detected more frequently at SF ( ?2 = 5 .56 , P = 0 .0184 ) and GHWMA ( ?2 = 4 .02 , P = 0 .0450 ) than MWMA . Diet composition of coyote scats (n = 374 ) consisted of 27 prey types , primarily small mammal species (n = 11 ) and vegetation (n = 8 ) , followed by large mammal species (n = 3 ) , medium mammal species (n = 2 ) , avian species (n = 2 ) , reptiles (n = 1 ) , and insects (n = 1 ) . Prey occurrences were primarily small - [n = 194 , 40 .76 Percent of Occurrence (POO )] and medium -sized (n = 73 , 15 .33 POO ) mammals . The most common prey occurrence across all sites and seasons was Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus ) (n = 69 , 14 .50 POO ) , identified in scats at all sites . White -footed (Peromyscus leucopus ) , and deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus ) , (n = 42 , 8 .82 POO ) , and hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus , n = 28 , 5 .88 POO ) were the most common prey types in the small mammal prey category . We detected avian species (n = 13 , 2 .73 xi POO ) in coyote scats at SF (n = 6 ) , GHWMA (n = 2 ) , and CNG (n = 4 ) sites . Turkey was <1 % of all food items , detected only at SF (n = 2 ) and CNG (n = 1 ) .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /15065
Date: 2005-08

Citation

Coyote predation on the Rio Grande wild turkey in the Texas Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /15065 .

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