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

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Monday, November 2 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Habitat Characteristics Associated with Daytime Resting Sites of Raccoons in a Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

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R. Brian Kirby, University of Tennessee; L. Mike Conner, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center; Lisa I. Muller, University of Tennessee; Michael Chamberlain, University of Georgia

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a significant predator of ground-nesting species such as gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) and northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). We examined 269 daytime resting sites (DRS) for 31 radio-collared adult raccoons (18 M, 13F) during 2014-2015 in a longleaf pine ecosystem (Pinus palustris) in southwestern Georgia, USA to understand factors affecting use. We evaluated 26 a priori models using an informative theoretic approach. The top 5 models (∆ AIC < 5), representing 95% of the predictive weight, included the predictors tree diameter, tree type, presence of nearby hardwood, and distances to pine, hardwood, mixed forest and agriculture. Raccoons readily used all available forest types; however, they were less likely to use pine trees (β = -3.575, SE = 0.442) compared to hardwoods, and preferred large diameter trees (β = 0.013, SE = 0.004). When comparing use by gender, the global model received full support. For DRS, females were less likely to use larger trees (β = -0.014, SE = 0.004) and were found further from agriculture (β = -0.005, SE = 0.001) and primary roads (β = -0.001, SE = 0.000) than males, but female DRS were closer to wetlands (β = 0.002, SE = 0.000) than male DRS. Removal of mature hardwoods in the longleaf pine ecosystem may be used as a nonlethal means to manage raccoons to reduce nest predation. However, hardwoods are beneficial to other wildlife within the longleaf pine matrix, and this should be considered before implementing excessive hardwood removal.

Monday November 2, 2015 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Windsor B

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