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

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Tuesday, November 3 • 8:20am - 8:40am
Movement with the Moon: White-tailed Deer Activity and Solunar Events

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Jeffery D. Sullivan, Stephen S. Ditchkoff – Auburn University; Bret A. Collier, Louisiana State University; Charles R. Ruth, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources; Joshua B. Raglin, Norfolk Southern Railway, Brosnan Forest

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are predominately crepuscular; however, the general populace believes that deer activity is also influenced by lunar factors. This belief is demonstrated by the countless “solunar charts” claiming to provide peak periods of deer activity. However, while research has identified solar and lunar influences on behavioral patterns in some species, few studies describe these effects on white-tailed deer. Our goal was to determine if solunar charts can predict periods of increased activity in white-tailed deer. Thirty-eight adult male, white-tailed deer were equipped with GPS collars programmed to collect locations every 30 minutes from August-December during 2010-2012. Deer were classified as active or inactive between consecutive GPS fixes based upon a 38.44 meter threshold for total distance moved. We used logistic regression to model the odds of activity dependent on solunar events. On days furthest from the full or new moon, deer were less likely to be active during moonrise and moonset periods, and more likely to be active during moon overhead and moon underfoot periods, than during surrounding times. On days with greater proximity to the new or full moon the probability of activity during moonrise and moonset periods increased from 0.429 to 0.660 and 0.464 to 0.652, respectively, while decreasing during moon overhead and moon underfoot periods from 0.597 to 0.467 and 0.576 to 0.364, respectively. These data suggest events identified by solunar charts have some association with deer activity. However, the relationships between lunar events and lunar phase expressed in solunar charts may be misleading.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 8:20am - 8:40am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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