Managing brush near Rio Grande wild turkey roosts
Authors: J. C. Cathey, J. Wimberley, L. Redmon, S. L. Locke, B. A. Collier, R. Perez, J. B. Hardin
Of the 3 subspecies of wild turkeys in Texas, the Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia; RGWT) is the most numerous and has the widest range. Since the 1970s, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has documented a steady decline in some populations of RGWTs, particularly in the Edwards Plateau or Texas Hill Country. Specific causes are unknown, but it is thought that poor nest success and poult survival associated with changes in vegetation structure are limiting factors. Fragmentation of large landholdings into smaller parcels of property and changes in land use are also likely factors contributing to RGWT declines. Brush encroachment near and under roost sites is believed to have a negative effect on RGWTs, and it is thought that dense understory brush may degrade roost site quality.