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Title: White-tailed deer population dynamics and adult female survival in the presence of a novel predator: Deer Population Dynamics

Abstract

Recent localized declines in white-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus) populations in the southeastern United States have been linked to increasing predation pressure from coyotes ( Canis latrans), a novel predator to the region. Studies have documented coyotes as the leading cause of mortality for neonates, and 1 study documented coyotes as a mortality factor for adult females. However, no study has used field-based vital rates to conduct sensitivity analyses or model deer population trajectories under potential harvest or predator removal strategies. We used low, medium, and high values of fawn survival, adult female survival, and fecundity data collected from Fort Bragg Military Installation, North Carolina to demonstrate the current declining population trajectory for deer (λ = 0.905; low λ = 0.788, high λ = 1.003). Consistent with other studies of ungulates, we determined adult female survival was the most sensitive and elastic vital rate. Further, for 3 potential management (“what if”) scenarios, we projected the population for 10 years using estimated vital rates. Reducing adult female harvest (λ = 0.935; low λ = 0.875, high λ = 1.002) and coyote removal (λ = 0.995; low λ = 0.898, high λ = 1.081) reduced the current population decline, whereas combining bothmore » approaches (λ = 1.024; low λ = 0.898, high λ = 1.141) resulted in population increases. Our data indicate that for low-density deer populations with heavy predation pressure on neonates, protecting adult females from harvest may not completely offset population declines. Coyote removal might be a necessary strategy because it could possibly increase very low fawn survival, which appears to be the most important vital rate influencing λ in our study. However, managers may have to start with reductions in adult female harvest because coyote removal would have to be continuous and consistently effective, making it an impractical management approach by itself.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1]
  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh NC (United States). Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
  2. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, New Ellenton SC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDA Forest Service-Savannah River, New Ellenton, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
1237027
Report Number(s):
USDA-15-16-P
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-541X; 15-16-P
Grant/Contract Number:  
AI09-00SR22188
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Wildlife Management
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 79; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-541X
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; Coyote; elasticity; neonate; population dynamics; sensitivity; survival; white-tailed deer

Citation Formats

Chitwood, Michael C., Lashley, Marcus A., Kilgo, John C., Moorman, Christopher E., and Deperno, Christopher S. White-tailed deer population dynamics and adult female survival in the presence of a novel predator: Deer Population Dynamics. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1002/jwmg.835.
Chitwood, Michael C., Lashley, Marcus A., Kilgo, John C., Moorman, Christopher E., & Deperno, Christopher S. White-tailed deer population dynamics and adult female survival in the presence of a novel predator: Deer Population Dynamics. United States. doi:10.1002/jwmg.835.
Chitwood, Michael C., Lashley, Marcus A., Kilgo, John C., Moorman, Christopher E., and Deperno, Christopher S. Sun . "White-tailed deer population dynamics and adult female survival in the presence of a novel predator: Deer Population Dynamics". United States. doi:10.1002/jwmg.835. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1237027.
@article{osti_1237027,
title = {White-tailed deer population dynamics and adult female survival in the presence of a novel predator: Deer Population Dynamics},
author = {Chitwood, Michael C. and Lashley, Marcus A. and Kilgo, John C. and Moorman, Christopher E. and Deperno, Christopher S.},
abstractNote = {Recent localized declines in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in the southeastern United States have been linked to increasing predation pressure from coyotes (Canis latrans), a novel predator to the region. Studies have documented coyotes as the leading cause of mortality for neonates, and 1 study documented coyotes as a mortality factor for adult females. However, no study has used field-based vital rates to conduct sensitivity analyses or model deer population trajectories under potential harvest or predator removal strategies. We used low, medium, and high values of fawn survival, adult female survival, and fecundity data collected from Fort Bragg Military Installation, North Carolina to demonstrate the current declining population trajectory for deer (λ = 0.905; low λ = 0.788, high λ = 1.003). Consistent with other studies of ungulates, we determined adult female survival was the most sensitive and elastic vital rate. Further, for 3 potential management (“what if”) scenarios, we projected the population for 10 years using estimated vital rates. Reducing adult female harvest (λ = 0.935; low λ = 0.875, high λ = 1.002) and coyote removal (λ = 0.995; low λ = 0.898, high λ = 1.081) reduced the current population decline, whereas combining both approaches (λ = 1.024; low λ = 0.898, high λ = 1.141) resulted in population increases. Our data indicate that for low-density deer populations with heavy predation pressure on neonates, protecting adult females from harvest may not completely offset population declines. Coyote removal might be a necessary strategy because it could possibly increase very low fawn survival, which appears to be the most important vital rate influencing λ in our study. However, managers may have to start with reductions in adult female harvest because coyote removal would have to be continuous and consistently effective, making it an impractical management approach by itself.},
doi = {10.1002/jwmg.835},
journal = {Journal of Wildlife Management},
number = 2,
volume = 79,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {2}
}

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Cited by: 22 works
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