We compared survival of neonate white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus captured using vaginal-implant transmitters (VITs) and traditional ground searches to determine if capture method affects neonate survival. During winter 2003, 14 adult female radio-collared deer were fitted with VITs to aid in the spring capture of neonates; neonates were captured using VITs (N = 14) and traditional ground searches (N = 7). Of the VITs, seven (50%) resulted in the location of birth sites and the capture of 14 neonates. However, seven (50%) VITs were prematurely expelled prior to parturition. Predation accounted for seven neonate mortalities, and of these, five were neonates captured using VITs. During summer 2003, survival for neonates captured using VITs one. two, and three months post capture was 0.76 (SE = 0.05; N = 14). 0.64 (SE = 0.07; N = 11) and 0.64 (SE = 0.08; N = 9), respectively. Neonate survival one, two and three months post capture for neonates captured using ground searches was 0.71 (SE = 0.11 N = 7), 0.71 (SE = 0.15; N = 5) and 0.71 (SE = 0.15; N = 5), respectively. Although 71% of neonates that died were captured <24 hours after birth using VITs, survival did not differ between capture methods. Therefore, use of VITs to capture neonate white-tailed deer did not influence neonate survival. VITs enabled us to capture neonates in dense habitats which would have been difficult to locate using traditional ground searches. ?? Wildlife Biology (2008).
Additional publication details
Does the use of vaginal-implant transmitters affect neonate survival rate of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus?