Deer Ecology & Management

Contributed Oral Presentations

Contributed paper sessions will be available on-demand for the duration of the conference, then again at the conclusion of the conference.

 

Relating Black-Tailed Deer Habitat Selection to Survival
Jessica Clark; Katie Dugger; DeWaine Jackson
Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) populations in Oregon have been declining range wide since the 1990’s, potentially due to a combination of factors including disease, increasing predator populations, changes in land management and habitat quality. The range of black-tailed deer in Oregon extends from the Pacific coast to the Cascade Mountain crest across western Oregon, thus the species is exposed to a wide variety of terrain, land cover types and mortality factors. It is assumed that individuals in these varying circumstances exhibit behavior that maximizes their survival and reproduction. However, limited data exist on Columbian black-tailed deer home range, and survival in association with habitat selection patterns. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife attached GPS radio-collars to adult female black-tailed deer in 4 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs); two WMUs in the Coast Range and two WMUs in the Cascade Mountains. We estimated winter habitat selection and survival rates for the Coast Range (n=78) and the Cascade Mountains (n=67) from 2012-2017. Third order winter resource selection function (RSF) models were developed using mixed effects logistic regression with a variety of topographic, vegetative and landscape composition explanatory variables. We used results from our RSF models to explain variation in winter monthly survival rates within a known-fate framework and assess the relationship between survival rates and selected resources within deer home ranges (Coast Range home range size: x̄ = 0.55 km2; Cascade Mountains home range size: x̄ = 0.99 km2). By directly linking habitat selection with survival we can aid managers in improving habitat quality and ultimately assess the influence of resource selection on fitness at a population level.
Influence of Hunting on Survival of Adult Male Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer in Western Kansas
Maureen Kinlan; Dr. David Haukos; Dr. Andrew Ricketts; Levi Jaster; Mitchell Kern; Talesha Karish
Abundance and occupied range of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) have been declining for 20 years in Kansas. The two predominant hypotheses for the loss of mule deer and concurrent expansion of white-tailed deer (O. virginianus) are changes in land use and competitive dominance of white-tailed deer. Despite the popularity and income that stem from hunting, there have been no recent studies that provide critical insight for management and conservation of sympatric populations of deer species in Kansas. We evaluated survival rates, cause-specific mortality, and influence of hunting on adult male mule and white-tailed deer in western Kansas. We aerially captured and GPS-collared 111 male mule deer and white-tailed deer at two different study sites during 2018-2020. Each deer was fitted with a high resolution GPS/VHF collar that recorded bi-hourly locations and used an activity sensor to identify mortality. Known-fate models were used to estimate seasonal and yearly survival rates between species and study sites. White-tailed deer had lower annual survival (2018: 0.600±0.08, 2019: 0.621±0.09) than mule deer both years (2018: 0.645± 0.08, 2019: 0.656 ± 0.08). Harvest was the predominant cause of mortality and greatest in the north site where 41% of mule deer, and 22% of white-tailed deer were harvested during 2018 and 2019. In the south site, 16% of mule deer and 14% of white-tailed deer were harvested. Other sources of mortality stemmed from deer-vehicle collisions, natural (includes disease, old age, and starvation), and unknown causes. Because male mortality stems primarily from harvest, this source of mortality can be adjusted by changing harvest regulations. At this time harvest is not presumed to be a main driver behind mule deer population declines in western Kansas.
Resource Selection in Multiple Spatial Scales by Female Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer in Western Kansas
Talesha Karish; David Haukos; Andrew M. Ricketts; Levi Jaster
Abundance and occupied range of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Kansas have been declining for 20 years. Predominant hypotheses for the loss of mule deer and concurrent expansion of white-tailed deer (O. virginianus) are avoidance or adaptation to changes in land use and land cover as reflected in resource selection. The difference in resource selection possibly allows white-tailed deer to have an indirect competitive advantage over mule deer. Our objective was to evaluate and compare resource selection of adult female mule deer and white-tailed deer in western Kansas. A total of 184 females were captured and collared between two study sites that have different land use and management practices. We used logistic regression to determine resource selection by females from used points and random locations from March through January for each year. Selected resources by females were compared between a combination of reproductive stages and annual seasons. Resource selection was assessed and compared between different spatial scales of landscape, within total home range and core area. Both species had consistent selection of resources among seasons. Mule deer differed in selection between home range and core area while white-tailed deer did not. These results will be included in a larger assessment of how resource selection between these species and study sites may contribute to differing population trends.
Changes in Public Opinion of White-Tailed Deer Management Over Time
Angela Holland; T. Brian Eyler; Jacob L. Bowman
Wildlife managers must balance scientific and public perception inputs when creating and implementing wildlife management strategies and policy. Over time these inputs are likely to change. Scientific information develops due to discovery of new information from improved or repeated research and public perceptions vary with available information on topics and overall societal changes. Our objective was to assess how public opinion of different white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) management practices changed over time. We conducted surveys of the general public in Maryland (MD) in 2007 and 2018. We compared responses for five questions or statements from the survey to assess how opinions may have changed. Topics included general opinion of deer hunting, necessity of hunting to maintain healthy deer populations, Sunday deer hunting, the use of sharpshooters to control populations in un-huntable areas, and evaluation of MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on conserving the deer population. We used a permutation test of independence to detect differences in responses for each question or statement between years. All questions or statements differed between years except for the evaluation of MD DNR on conserving the deer population. Across all questions or statements the proportion of respondents that were strongly in favor or agreement increased in 2018. Understanding how views change over time and if the public is coming to a consensus on aspects of wildlife management and policy will aid state agencies in making wildlife management decisions.

 

Contributed Oral Presentations
Location: Virtual Date: Time: -