Makes A Turkey Gobble?
Gary Norman is testing a microchip that will record the date and time of
a wild turkey's gobbles in 2004.
"We know that wildlife react to changes in barometric pressure, rainfall
and wind speed," said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF's vice-president of
conservation programs. "How they sense these changes and exactly why they
react is the question."
"Weather affects wildlife in the same way that it can affect people's
attitudes and behaviors. Hot, cold, dry and wet weather determines our
dress, umbrella use and recreational activities. The same weather determines
if turkeys sit late on their roosts or fly down to feed.
Gary Norman, NWTF technical committee member and biologist for the Virginia
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, is testing a microchip that will
record the date and time of a wild turkey's gobbles. The microchip is placed
in radio collars, and the information will be compared to weather records,
which should determine when turkeys are most likely to gobble. If successful,
the microchip will help biologists determine those factors that affect
gobbling. Armed with that information, wildlife agencies should be able
to fine tune season dates to coincide with peak gobbling activity and improve
Norman said that lab studies have been successful, and that the microchip
would be tested on captured turkeys in the spring of 2004.
Because change is a huge factor in how weather affects wildlife, the
study and the microchip will go a long way in answering many questions
about behavior. Wildlife are more in tune with nature and weather patterns
because survival depends on their response to nature.
Timing hunting and fishing trips with changing weather patterns can
increase the chance of success, especially if the trip can be made immediately
before or after heavy rain or a weather front.
"Deer and turkeys feed heavily before and after a front," Kennamer said.
"What we want to learn is their activity levels during days of continuous
weather. How active are wildlife during a week of sunshine, or a week of
National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a great resource for turkey
hunting tips and other wild turkey information. Visit the NWTF’s website
at www.nwtf.org for information or call
(800) THE-NWTF to become a NWTF member and receive one of our great magazines
filled with turkey hunting tips and stories.
About the NWTF: In 1973 when
the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded, there were an estimated
1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Thanks to the
work of state wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners,
today there are an estimated 5.4 million wild turkeys and approximately
2.6 million turkey hunters. Since 1985, more than
$135 million NWTF and cooperator
dollars have been spent on over 15,000 projects benefiting wild turkeys
throughout North America.
The NWTF is a 390,000-member
grassroots, nonprofit organization with members in 50 states, Canada and
11 foreign countries. It supports scientific wildlife management on public,
private and corporate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional
North American sport.