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Fort Valley, GA, United States

Balkcom G.D.,Game Management Section
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

In many urban metropolitan areas, resident Canada goose (Branta canadensis) populations have grown to nuisance levels in spite of increasing harvest opportunity. To document differences in demographic parameters between urban and rural geese, I estimated probabilities of survival, recapture, recovery, and fidelity for adult resident Canada geese between 2001 and 2006 using banding, live recapture, and dead recovery data from 2 distinct banding locations in Georgia, USA. Adult survival rates were higher for urban geese (0.958, SE=0.020) than for rural geese (0.682, SE=0.049). Using estimated recovery probabilities of 0.505 (SE=0.107) for urban and 0.463 (SE=0.045) for rural geese, along with current estimates of crippling loss and reporting rate, the estimated mean harvest rate for urban geese was 0.029 (SE=0.006) and for rural geese was 0.202 (SE=0.020). Fidelity rates were similar between urban (0.730, SE=0.033) and rural geese (0.713, SE=0.069). This information suggests that urban segments of the Canada goose population have substantially higher survival than rural geese and are harvested at a very low rate, and that liberalizing hunting regulations may have little impact on Georgia's urban goose population. Wildlife managers may need to consider options other than sport hunting to control nuisance goose populations in urban areas. © 2010 The Wildlife Society. Source


Balkcom G.D.,Game Management Section | Garrettson P.R.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Padding P.I.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

We developed a method for predicting wood duck (Aix sponsa) harvest rates in eastern North America using waterfowl banding and recovery data, annual indices of hunter numbers, and harvest survey data from the United States and Canada. We predicted that under the current season length (60 days), if hunter numbers remain unchanged, increasing the wood duck bag limit from 2 to 3 would increase harvest of adult male wood ducks in the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways by 12.3, causing an increase in harvest rate of 7.1 from 0.087 to 0.093. The Flyway Councils and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service can consider this information to predict the impacts of regulatory changes. © 2010 The Wildlife Society. Source


Balkcom G.D.,Game Management Section | Garrettson P.R.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Benedict R.J.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Benedict R.J.,Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2014

In waterfowl banding studies, the preseason banding period is commonly accepted as July through September; however, in an effort to increase Aix sponsa (Wood Duck) banding in the Atlantic Flyway, several state agency biologists have considered banding Wood Ducks in June. We analyzed existing Wood Duck banding data to determine if direct band-recovery rates of Wood Ducks banded in June differed from those banded during July-September. We calculated direct recovery rates by state, month, and year for 1998-2007 at selected states in the Atlantic Flyway. Arcsine-transformed direct band-recovery rates differed by month of banding (P = 0.0099; F = 3.973; df = 3, 111) and were lower in June than in July or August. We suggest that state or federal agencies conducting Wood Duck banding should spend their time and effort during the traditional banding period 1 July-30 September. Source


Cohen B.S.,University of Georgia | Belser E.H.,University of Georgia | Belser E.H.,Texas A&M University-Kingsville | Killmaster C.H.,Game Management Section | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2015

Intracranial abscess disease is a cause of natural mortality for mature male whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Most cases of abscesses are associated with bacterial infection by Trueperella (Arcanobacterium) pyogenes, but a complete understanding of the epidemiology of this disease is lacking. We quantified the effects of individual characteristics, site-specific herd demographics, land cover, and soil variables in estimating the probability of this disease. We examined 7,545 white-tailed deer from 60 sites throughout Georgia, US for signs of cranial abscesses, the predecessor of intracranial abscesses, and recorded the presence or absence of cranial abscesses for each individual examined. We detected no cranial abscesses in 2,562 female deer but 91 abscesses in 4,983 male deer examined (1.8%). A generalized linear mixed model, treating site as a random effect, was used to examine several potential explanatory risk factors including site-level landscape and soil characteristics (soil and forest type), demographic factors (deer density and male to female ratio), and individual host factors (deer sex and age). Model results indicated that the probability of a male having a cranial abscess increased with age and that adult sex ratio (male:female) was positively associated with this disease. Site-specific variables for land cover and soil types were not strongly associated with observations of the disease at the scale measured and a large amount of among-site variability remained. Given the demonstrated effect of age, gender, and local sex ratios but the remaining unexplained spatial variability, additional investigation into spatiotemporal variation of the presumed bacterial causative agent of cranial abscesses appears warranted. © Wildlife Dse Association 2015. Source


Bond B.T.,Game Management Section | Balkcom G.D.,Game Management Section | McDonald J.S.,Game Management Section | Bewsher J.M.,Game Management Section
American Midland Naturalist | Year: 2012

In Georgia, there are three distinct populations of black bears (Ursus americanus, including two subspecies americanus and floridanus). The Middle Georgia population has been shown to exhibit high genetic similarities within the population and we wanted to determine if the Ocmulgee River was a barrier to bear movements. One out of 9 collared females and 7 of 17 collared males crossed the Ocmulgee River. River flow (bear = 70.7 cubic m/sec, random = 92.7 cubic m/sec) and river depth (bear = 2.6 m, random = 2.8 m) were significantly lower when bears crossed the river than random samples. The river did appear to be a barrier to females but not males. Females may be less likely than males to cross the river because of behavioral differences (e.g., cub rearing) and smaller home ranges. © 2012, American Midland Naturalist. Source

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