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Measuring Fine-Scale White-Tailed Deer Movements and Environmental Influences Using GPS Collars

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Webb, Stephen L.; Gee, Kenneth L.; Strickland, Bronson K.; Demarais, Stephen; DeYoung, Randy W.
Journal: International Journal of Ecology
Volume: 2010
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6924
Sector: Wildlife
Region: North America
Subject(s): deer
resource management
Abstract: "Few studies have documented fine-scale movements of ungulate species, including white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), despite the advent of global positioning system (GPS) technology incorporated into tracking devices. We collected fine-scale temporal location estimates (i.e., 15 min/relocation attempt) from 17 female and 15 male white-tailed deer over 7 years and 3 seasons in Oklahoma, USA. Our objectives were to document fine-scale movements of females and males and determine effects of reproductive phase, moon phase, and short-term weather patterns on movements. Female and male movements were primarily crepuscular. Male total daily movements were 20% greater during rut (7, 363 m ± 364) than postrut (6, 156 m ± 260). Female daily movements were greatest during postparturition (3, 357 m ± 91), followed by parturition (2, 902 m ± 107), and preparturition (2, 682 m ± 121). We found moon phase had no effect on daily, nocturnal, and diurnal deer movements and fine-scale temporal weather conditions had an inconsistent influence on deer movement patterns within season. Our data suggest that hourly and daily variation in weather events have minimal impact on movements of white-tailed deer in southern latitudes. Instead, routine crepuscular movements, presumed to maximize thermoregulation and minimize predation risk, appear to be the most important factors influencing movements."

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