Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

B&C Fellow - Hayden Walkush

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point – B.S. Student in Wildlife Ecology and Management - Projected to Graduate in 2023
Project Title: Use of Snapshot Wisconsin Images to Predict Fall Harvest Demographics of Eastern Wild Turkeys

As a child, my passion for wildlife grew as I explored the waters and woods of Central Wisconsin. It was a combination of paternal encouragement and unquenchable curiosity that set me behind a rifle and rod. Hunting and angling were my gateways to the rest of the natural world. I am working to obtain my degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. As an undergraduate researcher, I studied post-release movement, behavior, and survival of orphan rehabbed black bears. I am the elected Liaison and co-leader of the Black Bear Project for our university's chapter of The Wildlife Society, and I will be conducting bird surveys with the National Ecological Observatory Network. I will also continue to assist in mist-netting and banding passerines at the Waupaca Biological Field Station. In the future, I want to continue in the realm of academia, where the results of my research can help inform management decisions. As a professor at a university, I would be able to conduct research, teach others, and be a spokesperson for the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Use of Snapshot Wisconsin Images to Predict Fall Harvest Demographics of Eastern Wild Turkeys

Wisconsin's eastern wild turkey population has flourished since the species' reintroduction in the 1970s. Despite the success, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states have experienced a decline in spring and fall harvest. Our research objective is to determine if a relationship exists between male-to-female ratios in Snapshot Wisconsin triggers and fall harvest male-to-female ratios. Additionally, we seek to determine potential relationships between the number of male and female triggers from each year and the number of harvested individuals. We will utilize harvest data (2016-2020), provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and Snapshot Wisconsin's archive of turkey photos to achieve these objectives. We hypothesize that yearly harvest demographics reflect the male-to-female ratios estimated through the photos. If our predictions are supported, Snapshot Wisconsin's estimation of population demographics could be used to predict population trajectories and help inform the state's decisions on hunting season frameworks.


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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt