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Survival and Movements of Orphaned White-Tailed Deer Fawns in Texas

William M. Giuliano, Stephen Demarais, Robert E. Zaiglin and Misty L. Sumner
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), pp. 570-574
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802644
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802644
Page Count: 5
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Survival and Movements of Orphaned White-Tailed Deer Fawns in Texas
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Abstract

Harvest of females can be a controversial but necessary tool in managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations. Because little is known about the effects of female harvest on their orphaned fawns, we compared survival rates, home range area, and movement rates between fawns (7 M, 7 F) orphaned during early November, and unorphaned (4 M, 6 F) fawns for 11 months postorphaning. Distance moved during 3-6-hr periods (P = 0.498) and 21-27-hr periods (P = 0.502) did not differ between orphaned and unorphaned fawns. However, compared with unorphaned fawns, orphaned fawns had smaller home ranges (95% minimum convex polygon [MCP]: 153 vs. 285 ha, P = 0.015, n = 23; 95% harmonic mean [HM]: 191 vs. 314 ha, P = 0.035, n = 23), and lower survival rates (0.79 vs. 1.00; P = 0.060, n = 24). Our results suggest early-season female deer harvest may negatively affect fawns, potentially reducing recruitment. Therefore, managers should carefully consider the timing of female harvests relative to management goals and harvest strategies.

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