White-tailed deer


Title:  Preliminary observations of mortality and emigration in a population of South Carolina white-tailed deer.
Author(s): Morgan, K. E., T. Fendley, and D. A. Shipes
Year: 1994
Abstract: Accurate estimates of mortality and emigration rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are necessary to improve the characterization and management of deer populations. This paper presents preliminary findings from the first year of a 3-year telemetry study designed to investigate age- and sex-specific mortality and emigration rates in a population of deer subject to restricted hunter harvest. In the fall of 1992, radio-collars were placed on 52 deer (19 male and 20 female 0.5-year-olds, 8 male and 4 female 1.5 year-olds, and 1 male 2.5-yearold). Forty-four of these deer were monitored daily from 2 January 1993 to 1 January 1994 to detect mortality and emigration. Total mortality for that time period was 36% (16 of 44). Non-hunting mortalities (9 of 16,56%) were highest from January to May (7 of 9,77%), which coincided with a time of heavy flooding. Non-hunting mortalities included malnutrition/disease/parasitism, bobcat predation, automobile-deer collisions, and unknown causes. All hunting mortalities (7 of 16.44%) occurred from October to December. Six (86%) of these mortalities occurred offsite. Emigration movements were highest from January to May and from October to December. During the first emigration period 18 (42%) of the 43 monitored deer left the study site. Of these 18 deer, 5 (28%) established stable off-site ranges, 9 returned to the study site, and 4 died (3 off-site, 1 on-site). In the second dispersal period 17 (52%) of the 33 remaining on-site deer left the study site. Of these deer, 1 established a stable off-site range, 10 returned to the study site, and 6 died (all off-site).

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