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J Wildl Dis. 1992 Jul;28(3):391-9.

Cause-specific mortality of white-tailed deer as influenced by military training activities in southwestern Oklahoma.

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Department of Zoology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078.


Radio-telemetry was used to monitor movements and mortality of 56 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in response to intensive military training activities on West Range (18,000 ha), Fort Sill Military Reservation, Oklahoma. Cause-specific mortality was determined for 22 radio-collared deer, including adults (greater than or equal to 2.0-yr-old), yearlings (0.6-1.9-yr-old), and fawns (less than or equal to 75-day-old age group) from 1987 to 1989. Winter home ranges were largely confined to a 14,411 ha impact area centrally located on West Range. The mean annual mortality rate was 0.50 for adults and yearlings combined. Fifty percent of all adult and yearling mortality was attributed to military training activities, 28% to hunting, 16% to collisions with automobiles, and 6% to unknown causes. The mean monthly mortality rate was 0.61 for neonatal fawns and predation accounted for three of four mortalities. All captured deer in the greater than or equal to 2.6-yr-old, 82% in the 1.6-yr-old, 10% in the 0.6-yr-old, and all deer in the less than 7-day-old age groups were seropositive for bluetongue virus (BTV). Our study strongly suggests that the consequences of military training activities should be considered in the management of white-tailed deer herds on military installations.

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