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Tuesday, August 7 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Management 3 Track: Social Dominance Increases Pelleted Feed Consumption by White-tailed Deer in South Texas

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AUTHORS: Emily H. Belser, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; David G. Hewitt, Timothy E. Fulbright, and Charles A. DeYoung – Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University; Thomas W. Boutton, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University; David B. Wester, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University; Don A. Draeger, Comanche Ranch, Carrizo Springs, TX

ABSTRACT: Providing pelleted feed for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a common management practice in Texas. Previous research has shown that not all deer consume the same amount of supplemental feed, suggesting that social interactions at the feed sites may restrict access to the feeder for subordinate deer, such as young and female deer. Social dominance at feed sites may benefit dominant deer by reducing competition. Changing deer density and supplemental feeder density may change the accessibility of supplemental feeders. To test these hypotheses, pelleted feed was provided year round, ad libitum within three, 81-ha enclosures on two ranches in South Texas with the following numbers of deer and feeders, respectively: 20/1, 60/1, and 60/3. We used stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) in deer serum to estimate supplemental feed in deer diets during March 2015. Social interactions at the feed sites were analyzed using trail cameras that recorded 30-s videos with no delay in March 2015. Elo Rating in Program R was used to recreate the social hierarchy within each enclosure. We used a mixed model to determine the effect of a deer’s Elo rating (dominance) on supplement consumption within the different treatments. As a deer’s dominance increased, feed consumption increased (P

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11AM pdf

Tuesday August 7, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am
Assembly Hall A
  • Slides Available Yes

Attendees (3)