Effects of Raccoon Hunting on White-tailed Deer Movement and Harvest Potential

The impact of raccoon (Procyon lotor) hunting with trained hounds on movement, daily use area, and harvest potential of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was studied on Westvaco Corporation's North Whitener Tract in Jasper County, South Carolina, in winter 1993-94 and 1994-95. Two groups (treatment and control) of radioinstrumented deer were selected from a larger group of radio-collared deer. Minimum daily total distance moved (MTD), 4 subsets of MTD, and daily use area were calculated and/or plotted from radio-locations during the 24-hour period before and the 24-hour period during and after a raccoon hunt for each radio-instrumented deer. There were no differences (P ≥ 0.05) between treatment and control areas in pre-hunt and post-hunt periods for any of the movement parameters. The percent overlap for each deer's prehunt daily use area and its corresponding post-hunt daily use area did not differ between treatment and control areas. Time-sequenced photographs were taken at 14 baited sites (7 control and 7 treatment) on the day prior to the raccoon hunt and the day following the raccoon hunt to provide an indicator of deer harvest potential. Total deer per frame at each camera location did not differ between treatment and control for either morning or evening. This study provided no evidence that raccoon hunting with trained hounds impacts the movement, daily use area, or harvest potential of white-tailed deer.

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