Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. John J. Cox

Abstract

Maintaining desired numbers of wildlife species requires an understanding of species-specific population dynamics. For ungulate species such as the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), understanding the neonatal survival rate of a population and factors that influence that survival rate, may be two of the most important factors to successful deer management. We examined neonatal survival in an eastern Kentucky population of deer living in relatively low densities (/ km2), with adequate habitat and supposedly poor population growth. Neonates (102) were captured in the summer birth periods of 2014 - 2016 and radio-monitored until the beginning of the fall archery deer season. We found moderate-to-low survival estimates to four months of 43% (95% CI: 29 – 57%) that are consistent with many areas in the Midwest and southeastern United States. Predation, including suspected predation events, from bobcats (Lynx rufus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) accounted for 80% of all neonate mortalities. A thorough examination of the survival and mortality in the neonate component of this population is discussed herein.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.067

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