Stephen S. Ditchkoff

Relative Efficacy of a Urine-based Lure for Attracting Wild Pigs

SEAFWA Journal Volume 6, March 2019

Population surveys and removal efforts for wild pigs (Sus scrofa) have traditionally used a food-based attractant. However, some situations or locations where these activities may take place may not be conducive to the logistical challenges associated with storing or hauling large quantities of bait. Scent-based lures are lighter and easier to store than baits, and may negate some of these logistical challenges. Our goal was to examine the efficacy of a urine-based lure for attracting wild pigs to and retaining them at camera sites. We compared the initial arrival time and length of visits...

Year
2019

Eastern Gray Squirrel Survival in a Seasonally-Flooded Hunted Bottomland Forest Ecosystem

SEAFWA Journal Volume 6, March 2019

Though the eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is an important game species throughout its range in North America, little is known about environmental factors that may affect survival. We investigated survival and predation of a hunted population of eastern gray squirrels on Lown- des Wildlife Management Area in central Alabama from July 2015–April 2017. This area experiences annual flooding conditions from November through the following September. Our Kaplan-Meier survival estimate at 365 days for all squirrels was 0.25 (0.14–0.44, 95% CL) which is within the range for previously...

Year
2019

The Influence of Population Demographics on White-tailed Deer Fawning Season

SEAFWA Journal Volume 4, March 2017

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are one of the most abundant and well-studied ungulates in North America. Few studies, however, have examined how population demography affects the fawning season, which may be influenced by age structure and adult sex ratio of the population. From 2010 to 2013, we used vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) to record the birth date of fawns born within a 174-ha captive facility to elucidate how population demography affects fawning season. We documented an earlier shift in fawning season as male age structure increased from a mean of 2.74 years old...

Year
2017

Temporal and Sex-related Differences in use of Baited Sites by White-tailed Deer

SEAFWA Journal Volume 4, March 2017

Many of the methods used to estimate white-tailed deer population parameters from camera images are reliant upon the assumption that rates of detectability are similar between both sexes and all age groups of deer. e assumption of equal detectability may not be valid when bait is used to attract deer to survey sites due to physical and behavioral differences between deer groups. We placed trail cameras set at 1-minute time-lapse intervals at randomly selected sites baited with corn inside the Auburn University Deer Research Facility, a 175-ha enclosure containing a captive population of...

Year
2017

Economic Optimization of Forage and Nutrient Availability During Stress Periods for White-tailed Deer

SEAFWA Journal Volume 4, March 2017

Providing a suffcient quantity of nutritional forage should be an integral component of any white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) management plan that aims to maximize deer condition and quality. Deer managers generally attempt to meet the nutritional needs of their herd through some combination of habitat management, food plot production, and/or supplemental feed provisioning. However, nutritional demands of deer and forage quality and abundance fluctuate throughout the year, creating nutritional stress periods and a dilemma for managers regarding how to maximize the nutritional...

Year
2017

Movement with the Moon: White-tailed Deer Activity and Solunar Events

SEAFWA Journal Volume 3, March 2016

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) activity patterns are predominately crepuscular. However, the general populace believes that deer activity is also influenced by lunar factors. This belief is demonstrated by the countless "solunar charts" claiming to provide peak periods of deer activity. While research has identified solar and lunar influences on behavioral patterns in some species, descriptions of solunar factors on white-tailed deer are rare. Our goal was to evaluate whether solunar charts can predict periods of increased activity in white-tailed deer. We used 38 adult male,...

Year
2016

Antler Breakage Patterns in White-tailed Deer

Antlers contribute greatly to the life history and ecology of most species in the deer family (Cervidae). Diet composition and quality, precipitation, age, antler size, dominance rank, and demographic parameters (e.g., adult sex ratio, density) of the population may explain variation in antler breakage rates between individuals and subpopulations. Our objectives were to examine the effects of some of these variables on probability of antler breakage and provide a general description of antler breakage patterns in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). From 2001-2010, we collected...

Year
2012

Feral Pig Detectability with Game Cameras

The use of game cameras for surveying and estimating populations of large mammals has become increasingly popular over the past two decades; however, few studies have examined logistics or patterns of animal detection using cameras. We monitored feral pigs (Sus scrofa) for seven consecutive 24-hour periods at 73 pre-baited camera sites on Fort Benning, Georgia, to determine the minimum length of time cameras must be deployed to attain sufficient detection probabilities for three classes of pigs (adult sows, adult boars, and juveniles). We sought to broaden this objective by examining the...

Year
2008

The Yearling Disadvantage in Alabama Deer: Effect of Birth Date on Development

Male white-tailed deer are subjected to a variety of factors that influence body and antler development when they are yearlings. Nutrition and genetics have received considerable attention as factors that influence this development; however, date of birth has yet to be adequately investigated and theoretically could dramatically influence development in later years. To determine how date of birth influences development of antler and body characteristics at 1.5 years of age, we collected data from yearling male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) harvested on 23 Alabama Wildlife...

Year
2002

Hunter Success and Selectivity of Archers Using Crossbows

Use of crossbow equipment to hunt white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has increased in recent years. Concurrently, beliefs about efficiency of crossbows relative to upright bows has spawned concerns among many hunters that use of crossbows during standard archery seasons will lead to overharvest and herd degradation. To examine relative efficiency of crossbows as weapons for harvesting deer, we collected 5 years (1996-2000) of deer harvest data from special hunts in southeast Oklahoma where hunters were restricted to either crossbows or traditional (recurves or longbows) archery...

Year
2001