Survival and Movements of Translocated White-tailed Deer in South Texas

In south Texas, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) translocations have become a common technique for non-lethal means of deer removal with the implementation of a Trap, Transport, and Transplant (TTT) permit program. However, the effectiveness of TTT as a management tool has not been evaluated. We monitored survival, movements, and body condition of 51 adult white-tailed deer from two translocations to two 2,000-ha south Texas properties, one of which was partially enclosed by a 2.5-m net-wire fence. Annual survival of all translocated deer was lower in the partially fenced property (64%) compared to the unfenced property (80%), but overall survival was similar to survival rates of adult native south Texas deer reported in previous studies (68%-74%). As expected, more deer left the unfenced property (52%) than the partially enclosed property (14%). Cumulatively, 40% of deer survived and remained on the release area after one year. Young (1.5-3.5 years old) translocated males had below average antler gain, body condition scores, and rump fat measurements 6-8 months post-release compared to resident males. Results of this study indicate reasonable survival rates can be achieved, but released deer may not remain in the vicinity of the release site and tend to have below-average body condition 6-8 months after release compared to native deer.

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