By: Shawn Locke, James C. Cathey, Bret Collier and Jason Hardin
This calendar is for landowners and managers who want to manage and improve their wild turkey habitat. Rio Grande wild turkeys are found in many areas of Texas. Although the timing of some management tasks may vary by region, this information can help you plan those tasks and know when and how to monitor turkeys and their habitat.
Knowing the time of year when different life stages occur is critical when managing for Rio Grande wild turkeys. For example, if management activities such as prescribed burning, mowing or disking are carried out during the nesting season, they can disrupt nesting activity. Brush clearing and other prolonged disturbances of winter roost sites may force turkeys to abandon the sites and seek other roosts. Management activities should be scheduled to avoid critical life stages.
To conduct some management practices you may need legal permits or the assistance of knowledgeable professionals. For example, before using prescribed burning to manage turkey habitat, be sure to get help from knowledgeable, experienced personnel (e.g., Texas AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department). To use a herbicide properly and effectively, you will need guidance on which herbicide to use and when to apply it. A private applicator’s license may be required.
It is important to monitor Rio Grande wild turkeys and their habitat to know if management is having the desired effect on the population. Incidental sightings of hens and poults can provide useful information about reproductive trends over time. Winter roost counts can help you estimate the abundance of Rio Grande wild turkeys on your property. When conducted annually, winter roost counts show the trend of relative abundance. Finally, monitoring the condition of the rangeland can help you identify factors that might be limiting the turkey population and suggest ways of enhancing the habitat.
For additional information
- E-37, Prescribed Range Burning in Texas. Texas AgriLife Extension.
- B-1466, Chemical Weed and Brush Control: Suggestions for Rangeland. Texas AgriLife Extension.
- B-1466A, Chemical Weed and Brush Control: Suggestions for Rangeland, 2007 Supplement. Texas AgriLife Extension.
- B-6196, The Rio Grande Wild Turkey: Their Biology and Management. Texas AgriLife Extension.
- SP-317, Habitat Appraisal Guide for Rio Grande Wild Turkey. Texas AgriLife Extension. All are available at http://agrilifebookstore.org
- Also see http://wfsc.tamu.edu/turkey
Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Rio Grande Wild Turkey Life History and Management Calendar
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