White-tailed deer


Title:  Relationship of in utero productivity to population indices of white-tailed deer in Florida sandhills
Author(s): Petrick, C. J., R. E. Vanderhoof and S. M. Shea.
Year: 1994
Abstract: We collected 82 adult female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virninianus) during the summers of 1990-92, &om two adjacent areas on the 464,000-acre Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida. Body weights and number of fetuses per doe were measured. Fifty-nine does were collected from the west area (40,093 acres), which was closed to public hunting during this study. Twenty-three does were collected from the east area (31,859 acres), which historically was subjected to intense public hunting. The predominant natural community within the study areas consisted of sandhills with longleaf pine (Pinus ualustris) and mb oak (Ouercus spp.) comprising the overstory. Preliminary population indices suggested differences in relative abundance of deer between these areas was great. Track count indices and deer harvested per man-hour were used to compare deer abundance. Differences (P < 0.001) were identified between track cou~litn dices. The mean number of tracks per mile for the west and east study areas were 11.7 and 2.5, respectively. Differences (P < 0.001) were also identified between catch per unit of effort values. The mean number of deer harvested per man-hour were 0.01064 and 0.00025 for the west and east areas, respectively. Productivity values did not differ (P > 0.1) between study areas. The mean number of fetuses per doe for the west area was 1.37 and 1.26 for the east area. Productivity values suggest that population levels on these areas may not appreciably affect nutritional plane. Consequently, productivity may not increase after herd reduction in these habitats. Although density dependency has tfaditionally been the cornerstone of deer management, density independent forces may be more important to the management of deer in Florida than previously thought

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