White-tailed deer

Abstract

Title:  Age-specific activity rates of male white-tailed deer in southern Texas.
Author(s): Mickey W. Hellickson–King Ranch, Inc. and The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Karl V. Miller and R. Larry Marchinton–University of Georgia, and Charles A. DeYoung–Texas A&M University
Year: 2003
Abstract: Knowledge of the age-specific activity rates of male white-tailed deer is required for making informed management decisions as the popularity of non-traditional management programs increase. We combined radio-transmitting collars equipped with variable-pulse activity sensors with an automated telemetry system to quantify relative activity rates of 35 males in southern Texas during July 1993-October 1995. Males within 2.4-km of the data collection unit were monitored for 3 to 28 months. We categorized each of 470,443 1 -min observations as inactive or active. Activity data were grouped into 2-hour intervals and divided into prerut, rut, postrut, spring, and summer periods and analyzed for age class and period effects. Males were active an average of 42.6% (k2.1 SE) of the time monitored. Seasonal and monthly die1 activity patterns within years were variable. Activity levels were highest during January and September-October and lowest during March and April-August. Males were most active during the evening crepuscular period except during rut when diurnal activity was highest. Activity rates were highly variable, with some males >4 times as active as other males. Rates tended to decrease as individuals increased in age. Activity rates were highest for young and middle-aged males and lowest for mature and old males. Activity appeared to be unrelated to forage quantity and quality, precipitation, estimated density, or antler and body size. We suggest that changes in activity rates among individuals and age classes may be explained in part, by social interactions, relative dominance, and the varying ability among males to assimilate into bachelor groups.

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