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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 9:20am - 9:40am
Fine-scale Movements of Adult Male White-tailed Deer in Northeastern Louisiana During the Hunting Season

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Taylor N. Simoneaux, Bradley S. Cohen, Elizabeth A. Cooney, Rebecca M. Shuman, Michael J. Chamberlain, Karl V. Miller –University of Georgia

Understanding movement patterns of adult male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is critical to explaining population dynamics, predation interactions, gene flow, and disease spread of this demographic. Relatively few studies have investigated movement ecology of mature male deer, although recent trends in hunter-harvest selectivity have led to an increased representation of this cohort in many herds. Multiple co-occurring variables influence spatiotemporal variation in deer movements, but individuals should move at an optimum rate to maximize individual health and fitness while minimizing high-risk encounters. We used GPS telemetry data from 24 adult male deer (≥ 2.5 years old) in northeastern Louisiana to determine fine-scale movement patterns during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 hunting seasons. We calculated half-hour step lengths and performed generalized linear mixed models to examine the effects of habitat, age, breeding chronology, photoperiod, and refugia from hunting on step length. We used information-theoretic approaches to identify the most parsimonious model. On average, older individuals moved less and deer moved more in agriculture and mature hardwood areas. Movements were greatest during the rut, especially at crepuscular and night hours. Our most parsimonious model predicted mature males tended to be more crepuscular in refuge areas where they were infrequently hunted compared to adjacent lands which were open to hunters the entirety of the season. Mature males seem to modify movements to avoid hunter predation, particularly if predation risk is chronic. Decreased disturbance from hunting may prevent deer from developing related-antipredator behaviors, thereby facilitating successful harvest of these animals upon initiation of hunting.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 9:20am - 9:40am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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