Physical development of orphaned white-tailed deer fawns in southern Texas
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CitationDemarais, S., Zaiglin, R. E., & Barnett, D. A. (1988). Physical development of orphaned white-tailed deer fawns in southern Texas. Journal of Range Management, 41(4), 340-342.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractThe 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.