Study Of White-Tailed Deer Fawn Mortality On Cookson Hills Deer Refuge Eastern Oklahoma

Thirty-three white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns 5 to 27 days of age were captured in 1970 through 1972. Movements were monitored during June and July to determine their survival and causes of mortality. Three hundred and thirty-one radio locations were plotted for the 22 fawns monitored. Mortality rates in 1970, 1971 and 1972 were 18,64 and 45 percent respectively. Eighty-three percent of fawn mortality occurred during the first month of age. Blood loss and gross infection resulting from the feeding of lone star ticks (Amhlyomma americanum) were associated with the causes of 71 percent of fawn mortality where causes were determined. The decrease in fawn mortality in 1972 foIlowed high mast production in the FaIl of 1971. Corresponding to this decreased mortality was an increase in production of both total fawns and t\\\\-;n fawns in 1972 as compared to 197 I. Significant correlations were determined between general health of fawns, magnitude of movements, tick loads and survival. Mean tick loads at capture were 57.9 adult ticks for surviving fawns compared to I 19.8 for those that died. Fawns that died exhibited more sedentary movements several days prior to death. Area of activity of surviving fawns was 5.5 acres while area of those dying averaged 1.7 acres.

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