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Keywords:

  • capture techniques;
  • Meleagris gallopavo;
  • net blaster;
  • Quebec;
  • rocket-net;
  • wild turkey

ABSTRACT

We compared 2 net-propelled devices to capture eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris). One device, the rocket-net, employs explosives for propulsion and is currently the most effective and widespread method used to capture this species. The second device, the net blaster, works with compressed air instead of explosives. During 2009–2012, we captured 344 wild turkeys using rocket-nets (n = 30 attempts) and net blasters (n = 15 attempts). Both devices had a similar capture success rate; but malfunctioning was twice as common with the rocket-net as with the net blaster, as was the rate of injuries to captured wild turkeys. However, rocket-nets did not have a higher rate of capture-related mortality. The net blaster was more difficult to handle, more expensive, and did not work when temperatures were below −20°C. Overall the net blaster proved to be more efficient capturing wild turkeys and was safer than the rocket-net. © 2014 The Wildlife Society.