Effects of hunting and loss of escape cover on movements and activity of female White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus

David E. Naugle, Jonathan A. Jenks, Brian J. Kernohan, Rex R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We monitored radio-collared female White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, South Dakota, before and during bunting seasons in 1992 and 1993 to assess the effect of bunting on deer movements and activity. Unexpected flooding throughout the refuge in 1993 also allowed us to evaluate the effects of loss of escape cover (i.e., robust emergent wetland vegetation) on deer movements and activity. Although >70% of diurnal locations occurred in escape cover in 1992, use of escape cover was <28% in 1993 as a result of unexpected flooding that rendered most escape cover unavailable to deer. In 1992, hunted deer remained in areas similar to those used before the hunting season and responded to presence and activity of hunters by moving farther into escape cover. In 1993, deer moved to adjacent private lands when availability of escape cover decreased on the refuge. Deer located on private lands increased movements during the hunting season. In 1992, deer exhibited diurnal activity patterns before and during hunting seasons; crepuscular activity patterns were observed before and during hunting seasons in 1993. Differences in activity patterns before hunting seasons in 1992 and 1993 indicated that availability of escape cover was the major factor influencing deer activity patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-600
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Field-Naturalist
Volume111
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997

Keywords

  • Activity
  • Escape cover
  • Hunting
  • Movements
  • Odocoileus virginianus
  • South Dakota
  • White-tailed Deer

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