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Physical development of orphaned white-tailed deer fawns in southern TexasDemarais, S.; Zaiglin, R. E.; Barnett, D. A. (Society for Range Management, 1988-07-01)The effect of doe harvest on the physical development of orphaned fawns is an important unanswered question in white-tailed deer management. Twenty-seven white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns were captured, fitted with telemetry collars, and released in southern Texas during 15-16 October 1985. Three fawns died from capture-related trauma. Thirteen of the remaining 24 fawns were orphaned during 15 October-8 November 1985. Eleven fawns remained with their dams as controls. Surviving animals were collected 9-10 October 1986. Covariate-adjusted eviscerated carcass weight was lower (P = 0.08) for orphaned females (mean = 28.3 kg) than for control females (mean 32.4 kg). Two of 4 orphaned females bred as fawns compared to 0 of 5 control females. Metabolic demands associated with lactation could account for the lower eviscerated carcass weight and weight gain of orphaned females. Physical development of males was not affected by dam harvest (P>0.10). We conclude that in good quality habitat there are minimal, if any, negative effects of dam removal on physical development of surviving fawns.
Vegetation characteristics influencing site selection by male white-tailed deer in TexasPollock, M. T.; Whittaker, D. G.; Demarais, S.; Zaiglin, R. E. (Society for Range Management, 1994-05-01)We studied the effects of vegetation characteristics in southern Texas on site selection by mature, male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Raf.). Thirteen, radio-collared animals were monitored during winter, spring, summer, and fall of 1986-87 and 1987-88 to determine area-usage patterns within each animal's respective seasonal home range. After each season, structural vegetation attributes were measured with transect-oriented data collection techniques inside the most heavily used and unused areas of each animal's home range. Comparisons were made between these areas to determine whether site selection by deer was in response to differing vegetation characteristics. In general, the most heavily used areas possessed a greater amount of woody canopy cover (greater than or equal to 85%), woody species richness (18-20), and horizontal screening cover than areas with no use. In contrast, herbaceous densities did not differ between the most heavily used and unused areas. Consequently, habitat management manipulations conducted specifically for mature male white-tailed deer in southern Texas, should include provisions for creation or maintenance of sites possessing dense woody canopy cover, a high number of woody species and dense horizontal screening cover.