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To assess how white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) herd demographics influence reproductive behaviors, we examined 24-h diel movements of female whitetailed deer relative to parturition and breeding in a low-density population with a near even sex ratio at the Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina. We conducted a series of intensive, 24-h radio-tracking periods of 13 females during spring and fall 2002. We compared daily range (ha), rate of travel (m/h), and distance between extreme daily locations (m), among the periods of pre-parturition and post-parturition and pre-, peak-, and post-rut. From pre-parturition to post-parturition, we observed decreases in diel range size (–38.2%), distance between extreme diel locations (–17.0%), and diel rate of travel (–18.2%). Diel range size, distance between extreme diel locations, and diel rate of travel during the pre-rut and rut exceeded those observed during post-rut. We further identified substantial increases in mobility during 12 24-h diel periods for eight females during our fall monitoring. Our data suggest that female white-tailed deer reduce mobility post-fawning following exaggerated movements during pre-parturition. Furthermore, despite a near equal sex ratio, estrous does may be required to actively seek potential mates due to low population density.


In Proceedings of the Annual Conference, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 2004



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