Some Population Parameters Of The Cades Cove Deer Herd, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A study of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was conducted during the summer of 1977 to determine population density, herd behavior, habitat utilization, and neral condition of the herd. Thirty-seven counts were conducted and 2,172 deer observed. The minimum summer population was estimated at 519 deer using the method of bounded counts; the sex ratio was 90.8 bucks per 100 does. Fawn-at-heel counts yielded a ratio of 49.5 fawns per 100 does. Deer utilized hayfields and horse pastures but avoided cow pastures. Feeding was the primary activity during all observation periods: bedding occurred primarily at night. Recommended management was removal of 125 deer with a 9: 10 sex ratio. The large number of deer using the Cove, the apparent importance offood as an attractant. and the fair to good reproduction were the critical factors determining the recommendations.

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