White-tailed deer are intermediate hosts for the cattle fever tick, which when infected, carries a protozoan that causes cattle fever, an important livestock disease. High deer densities in the cattle fever tick permanent quarantine area in Zapata County have complicated tick eradication efforts. My objectives were to influence deer management in the Zapata County quarantine zone by working with private landowners on a public deer management outreach initiative and to assist the United States Department of Agriculture in refining their treatment of deer for ticks at medicated feed sites. Through deer management, educational conferences, and publicly available literature, I was able to provide landowners with science-based recommendations on managing white-tailed deer on their properties. Helicopter surveys used to monitor changes in white-tailed deer sex ratio revealed little change in the harvest strategy of landowners throughout the course of my project. White-tailed deer visitation rates at medicated feed sites, estimated using Program MARK’s mark-resight analysis, revealed greater use of medicated feed sites by males than females, except during winter when use was low by both sexes.
June 30, 2015
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