Using captive white-tailed deer to investigate visual perception and age-related morphometrics
Miller, Elizabeth Ashley
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Captive deer herds are useful for collecting data that are otherwise unobtainable. I used captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to investigate deer visual perception by modifying an automated deer-training-apparatus (DTA) to elicit a behavioral response from deer as a basis for future sensory perception research. I trained 2 does to participate in data collection trials when pseudoisochromatic plate tests were presented as stimuli after mounting LG LCD monitors on the DTAs. I provide recommendations to troubleshoot potential issues with these devices. I also collected data from 11 fawns at the captive facility during summer 2012 to create a technique to accurately determine age of neonates. After collecting 17 different measurements, I identified strong individual predictors; however, only five measurements were significant predictors in a linear mixed effects model. These models make age estimation of fawns possible whether a great deal or very little information about the fawn can be obtained.