Great Basin Naturalist


We studied habitat selection patterns of Merriam's Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) hens with poults in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) ecosystem. Thirty-six radio-marked hens produced 19 broods, and we obtained 230 locations of hens with poults. We described vegetation of habitats using criteria from Rocky Mountain Region, U.S. Forest Service, for determining effects of forest management and monitoring of wildlife populations. Most habitat units were 4–32 ha and corresponded to third-order habitats as described by Johnson (1980). Hens with poults selected large meadows and rarely selected dense ponderosa pine habitats. Younger poults used meadows more frequently than did older poults. Implementation of the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan in ponderosa pine habitats will not negatively impact hens with poults. Grazing by livestock reduces herbaceous biomass necessary for invertebrate food items of poults and cover for poults. Habitat selection patterns of hens with poults should be evaluated by age categories of poults.