This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Movement of Female White-tailed Deer Relative to Conception and Localized Risk




Sullivan, Jeffery

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Wildlife Sciences


There are few data available that describe the spatial patterns of female white-tailed deer relative to their date of conception. To address this paucity of information, I placed GPS collars on free ranging female white-tailed deer, and combined the spatio-temporal data collected with information regarding each deer’s conception. My results indicate that female white-tailed deer engage in excursive behavior surrounding conception, likely as a means to maximize the number of potential mates aware of breeding receptivity. Similarly, little is known concerning the ability of white-tailed deer to detect and respond to localized risks, such as those posed by human hunters. By pairing GPS collar data with information about the usage of specific hunting locations I was able to examine how deer respond to risk at individual locations. My results indicate that deer perceive localized instances of risk and respond accordingly, but such responses may not be apparent without accounting for the localized nature of risk.