Survival of Rural and Urban White-Tailed Deer in Missouri

Information on survival rates and causes of mortality are important to understanding white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population dynamics and implementing appropriate management practices. We examined sex- and age-specific survival rates for three Missouri white-tailed deer populations that represented agricultural, forest, and urban landscapes. Except for males on Woods Farm (forest site), we observed no differences in age-specific or annual survival for male or female deer .6 months of age. For this exception, greater yearling than adult survival was attributed to deer harvest strategies that emphasized harvest of adult males. On the two rural study sites, hunting-related mortality accounted for 66% and 61% of female mortalities and 82% and 97% of male mortality. On the urban site, mortality was evenly distributed within a calendar year and collisions with vehicles accounted for most mortality (males 66%-86%; females 79%-81%), essentially replacing hunting mortality with overall annual survival rates similar to the rural sites.

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