Abstract

Title:  Use of Agricultural Lands by White-tailed Deer: Use Areas and Habitat Selection
Author(s): Jeannine A. Tardifp'and Richard A. Lancia, North Carolina State University; and Mark C. Conner, Chesapeake Farms
Year: 1999
Abstract: Managing an animal population requires balance. Balancing the benefits provided by the population itself (direct and indirect) and the potential conflicts that may arise is a difficult task. This management dilemma is clearly exemplified by white-tailed deer populations in agricultural habitats. To effectively manage a population in this setting, information regarding habitat use and selection is key in order to aid in reducing crop damage. This information may be gathered by targeting the more stable, philopatric female portion of the population. Chesapeake Farms is a 3,300 acre agricultural development and wildlife management demonstration area located in Kent County, Maryland. Current deer density is approximately 50 deer/km2. Female white-tailed deer were used in this study to monitor use patterns and movements in an agricultural setting. In 1997 and 1998, yearling (n=20 and n= 10) and adult (n= 13 and n=2) does were captured, fitted with radio transmitters, and were followed throughout the year to determine use area and habitat selection. Data from 1997 show an average annual use area of 530.1 1 (SE=67.76) and 379.54 (SE=75.99) acres for yearling and adult does, respectively. Spring, summer, and fall use areas in 1997 for yearlings were 530.08 (SE=74.39), 155.49 (SE=30.06), and 193.47 (SE=5 1.87), respectively. For adult does, spring, summer and fall use areas in 1997 were 414.01 (SE=96.46), 125.99 (SE=58.32), and 139.46 (SE=44.63), respectively. Preliminary results indicate a much smaller range in the summer months suggesting that females rely on agricultural crops.

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