Movements and ecology of a high-density deer herd on a Georgia state park
Killmaster, Charles Henry
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I evaluated vegetation and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) condition on Red Top Mountain State Park, Georgia one year before and after a herd reduction. After removing 172 deer from the park in 2004, the number of plant species observed increased 31.3%. In 2005, 65 deer were removed and compared to 2004; reproductive rates and body weights of adult females and fawns increased significantly. Thus, 1 year after an 80% reduction in deer density, the initial signs of plant community recovery and deer herd improvement were evident. I also radio-tracked 34 deer on the park to determine movements and responses to human activity. Mean summer home range sizes were small (36.5 [+ 4.5] and 22.5 [+1.7] ha for males and females, respectively). A sub-sample of 8 females that was monitored during 24-hour periods revealed that deer on this park were less active and were located farther from roads and other areas of human activity during daylight hours when traffic volume peaked.