Landowners and managers may manage for higher white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) densities or provide supplemental feed without knowing how these practices influence deer activity patterns. I used GPS collars to determine the effect of supplemental feed and deer density on sexual segregation and movement rates of adult white-tailed deer. I also used trail cameras to study the effect of deer density and feeder density on fawn use of supplemental feed sites. Sexual segregation was less pronounced in high than low deer density enclosures when supplemental feed was provided (P = 0.015). Sexual segregation was too dynamic and complex to explain with a single hypothesis, but rather a combination of hypotheses and their interaction with temporal changes may be needed to sufficiently detect segregation. Several factors such as sex of the deer, access to supplemental feed, and time of year all influenced movement rates of white-tailed deer. Provision of supplemental feed increased movement rates in both sexes, specifically during morning, evening, and night in the breeding season. Fawn use of supplemental feed sites was not impacted by an increase in deer density or an increase in feeder density, but maintaining an equal deer:feeder ratio as deer density increased did prevent a decrease in fawn use of supplemental feed sites. Time of year had the largest influence on fawn use of feed sites, with fawns visiting supplemental feed sites at a lower rate than does before late October and at a similar rate after that time.
January 27, 2016
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