Some Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) studies have interpreted low reproductive success in an established population as support for the idea that as populations stabilize reproduction decreases. However, no study has previously documented a negative relationship between population size and reproductive success for the wild turkey. Thus, we examined the hypothesis that reproduction (poults/hen) decreased as population size (turkeys seen/hour) increased in Georgia. Using 30 years of data collected by two independent survey methods, linear regression analysis indicated a negative relationship between population size and reproduction (r2 = 0.6389, P ≤ 0.001) for wild turkeys in Georgia from 1979 through 2008. Findings of a negative relationship such as in our case study adds more information and justification for researchers to further investigate the potential mechanisms of density–dependent processes in turkey reproduction through designed experiments with controls.

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