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Mortality and survival of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus fawns on a north Atlantic coastal island

Wildlife Biology

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Abstract

Mortality and survival of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus fawns (n=29) were studied from birth to 1 year of age during 1991-95 on Mount Desert Island (MDI), Maine where deer hunting is prohibited, coyotes Canis latrans have become recently established, and protected U. S. National Park lands are interspersed with private property. Rate of predator-caused mortality was 0.52, with coyote predation (n=8) accounting for at least 47% of mortalities from all causes (n=17). Mortality rate from drowning was 0.24 (n=3), and from vehicles was 0.14 (n=3). Of fawns radio-collared as neonates, 10 of 14 mortalities occurred during the first 2 months of life. Annual rate of fawn survival was 0.26. Survival rate from 6 months to 1 year was 0.65 and 4 mortalities (2 predation, 2 drowning) were observed during this interval. A subgroup of fawns (n = 11) captured near a residential area and along the edge of a coyote territory had a higher (P = 0.002) rate of survival to 1 year of age (S = 0.67) than did fawns from all other areas (n = 18, S = 0.00). Recruitment to 1 year of age was lower than has been observed in other deer populations in the northeastern United States. Low recruitment associated with coyote predation and mortality sources influenced by humans appears to be limiting white-tailed deer populations in this insular landscape.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Mortality and survival of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus fawns on a north Atlantic coastal island
Series title:
Wildlife Biology
Volume
4
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
237-247
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Wildlife Biology
First page:
237
Last page:
247
Number of Pages:
11