Abstract

Title:  Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Deer Study
Author(s): Elizabeth A. Cooney - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Rebecca Shuman - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Michael Chamberlain - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Karl V. Miller - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Scott Durham - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; John C. Kilgo - US Forest Service Southern Research Station, Savannah River Site, South Carolina
Year: 2014
Abstract: As with many areas of the Southeast, managers at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge have expressed concern regarding declines in fawn recruitment. In cooperation with the Tensas River NWR and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we initiated a 3-pronged research study in 2013. Specific objectives of the study are to determine survival rates and cause-specific mortality of fawns, assess fawn bed-site selection to assess the importance of cover in fawn survival, and evaluate home range and fine-scale movements of mature male deer on the Refuge. Between January and April 2013, we captured 30 females and fitted them with VHF radio-collars and vaginal-implant transmitters (VITs). We monitored females and VITs to assess space use and locate birth sites. In 2013, we located and collared 35 fawns. Only 12 (37.5%) survived to 12 weeks of age. We used field evidence and DNA sampling to determine putative causes of mortality. We located 89 bed sites used during the first 6 weeks of life. We are using vegetation surveys at bed sites and spatial and forest inventory data to identify bed site selection by fawns and compare bed site characteristics of predated versus surviving fawns. We also captured and fitted 14 mature males with GPS collars. Location frequency is 1 location every 13 hours outside of the hunting season and every 30 minutes during the hunting season. Deer capture and collaring will continue throughout the 2014 and 2015 fawning seasons.

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42nd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Deer Study Group
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Hyatt Regency
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