MSU College Conducting Turkey Research with GPS Tracking

3 Apr 2018

In collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources is attempting to study how wild turkeys naturally navigate the landscape. Biologists are capturing these wild turkeys throughout the state, equipping them with a unique GPS tracking device and releasing them back into their natural habitat.

Biologists hope to capture interesting information about where wild turkeys frequent, what types of terrains they prefer, how long they stay in different areas, how long they’re on the move and how big of an area they typically traverse. The wild turkey’s movements are tracked in two schedules with one updated the location every 30 minutes and the other every 15 minutes.

This main reason biologists are interested in conducting this type of research is because they’d like to utilize the collected data to help manage wild turkey populations. Data should give biologists a greater understanding of wild turkey’s preferred terrain, needs and habits.

This important information can help sustain the state’s wild turkey population. Statistics indicate that the number of turkeys has been declining in the state since the 1990s. This crucial information will assist biologists in managing the state’s habitat more effectively to stimulate a growth in the turkey population.

One professor involved in the research, Guiming Wang, explains that hunting is an effective tool that can help sustain the wildlife population. Turkey hunting season is officially began on March 15.

Currently, biologists have already implemented GPS tracking on 65 birds, but they hope to tag more animals throughout the season. Researchers are excited to learn more about these birds through the use of this GPS tracking technology, and they will be gaining new insights throughout the year. A healthy turkey population is beneficial for both wildlife conservationists, hunters and the state’s entire ecosystem.

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