Abstract

Title:  Effects of Temporary Bait Sites on Movements of White-tailed Deer.
Author(s): Howard J. Kilpatrick and Wade A. Stober, Conn. Wildlife Division
Year: 2000
Abstract: Food at temporary bait sites has been used to manipulate movements of white-tailed deer for research and management purposes. Bait has been used to capture deer, apply amitraz to deer for controlling ticks, employ immunocontraceptive agents, increase hunter success rates, and implement sharpshooting programs. Little information exists on the effects of bait on deer movements. Our objectives were to examine the effects of bait on deer movements and size of home ranges and core areas during the fall and winter-spring periods. We captured and marked deer with radiocollars and numbered ear tags from 1995 to 1997. Deer locations were triangulated 6 times during a 24-hour period each week. We used the adaptive kernel method of program CALHOME to estimate home ranges and core areas using the 95% and 50% probability distribution. Baiting occurred during fall 1997 and spring 1998. No baiting occurred during fall 1996 and spring 1999. Deer exhibited 4 responses to baiting. If established bait sites were within deer core areas (n=l l), deer maintained or shifted their original core areas towards the bait site. If established bait sites were outside deer core areas but within annual home ranges (n=14), deer established new core areas (n=2), abandoned core areas distant from bait sites (n=6), or shifted existing core areas closer to bait sites (n=6). No deer used bait sites outside their annual home range. Deer with bait sites outside their core areas exhibited greater shifts towards bait sites then deer with bait sites within their core areas (Pe0.001). There was no differences in core area size between the baiting and no-baiting period during the spring (P=0.915) or fall (P=0.307) seasons. If bait sites were established outside deer core areas, shifts in core areas towards bait sites were greater during spring then during fall and differences approached statistical significance (P=0.091). All collared deer with bait sites in home ranges were documented to use bait sites. We conclude that temporary bait sites have no effect on home-range and core-area size but may effect core areas of activity. Although deer shifted closer to bait sites, deer with bait sites in core areas used bait sites more frequently and likely will be most vulnerable to management activities at bait sites. Our data suggest that capturing or removing deer during the spring-winter period will be more effective than during the fall period. Removing deer or hunting over temporary bait sites should only affect the local deer herd in the immediate area

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