Identifier

etd-07292011-093219

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

White-tailed deer are the most important game species in Louisiana, and throughout the southeastern United States. Likewise, the forest products industry represents the most important agricultural commodity in Louisiana, and industrial landowners frequently lease their properties to sportsmen specifically for white-tailed deer hunting. I conducted research assessing survival, space use, and habitat selection of white-tailed deer on a 3885 ha industrial forest owned by Plum Creek Timber Company. I captured 61 deer in Union Parish, Louisiana in 2009-2010, radio-marked 24 females and 23 males, and ear-tagged 7 females and 6 males. Season and sex interacted to affect home range and core area sizes. Males home range sizes varied seasonally and were 232 ha, 70 ha, and 129 ha for spring, summer, and fall respectively. Female home range sizes did not differ seasonally and were 104 ha, 90 ha, and 62 ha for spring, summer, and fall respectively. Forest openings were important to both sexes when establishing home ranges. Core area selection exhibited a season and sex interaction as both sexes shifted selection in the fall to 0-4 year old pine and 13-19 year old pine stands. Use of habitats within home ranges did not vary by sex, season, or an interaction between them. Males and females chose 5-12 year old pine stands consistently across all seasons. Survival differed by season, but not by sex. Survival rates for adult males in spring, summer, and fall were 0.95, 0.97, and 0.54 respectively. Survival rates for females were 0.95, 0.97, and 0.56 for spring, summer, and fall respectively. All fall mortality was hunting-related, whereas mortalities during spring and summer resulted from unknown causes. The extensive use of bait, primarily corn and rice bran, was thought to influence space use and survival, and further research is needed to determine the effects of baiting on susceptibility of harvest of different age classes and sexes.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chamberlain, Michael J.

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