Behavior Of Whitetail Does And Fawns During The Parturition Period

Fourteen adult whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) does were captured (10 in 1976 and 4 in 1977) and fitted with radio transmitters. Eight of the 14 survived through at least I parturition period with properly functioning collars. Eleven fawns of the radiocollared does and 37 other fawns were captured soon after birth, radio-collared, released and monitored regularly. Four other does marked with ear streamers supplemented data from radio-collared deer. Some does shifted or reduced use of established home ranges just before parturition and separated themselves from conspecifics, usually by moving to the edge or outside of their established home range. Does remained near the birth site for approximately 24 hours and then moved away with their fawns. Distance between sibling fawns and distance between does and their fawns increased the first 8 days postpartum. Physical description and characteristic behavior of does are described during prepartum, birth, postpartum, and after loss of fawns.

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