The Louisiana deer telemetry study that started in the fall of 2006 has yielded some preliminary findings. The study's primary objectives are to assess range and movements of male and female white-tailed deer, evaluate age and sex-specific harvest rates of white-tailed deer and evaluate survival and causes of death among male and female white-tailed deer.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana State University have spearheaded the study entitled "Population Characteristics of a White-tailed Deer Herd in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest of South-central Louisiana."
"The deer telemetry study is proceeding well and some important information is being accumulated," said LDWF Deer Study Leader Scott Durham.
According to Durham, of the 24 collared deer, two bucks have slipped their collars (one in a cutover and one collar malfunction), one adult doe died from pneumonia and two adult does were harvested by hunters. That leaves 19 deer still being monitored of which five are does and 14 are bucks. Another 16 deer are ear marked only.
"All summer long the deer showed little movement, other than one 1.5-year-old-buck that traveled over eight miles one way, two months after being collared," Durham said.
One collared doe had a core (50 percent of the locations) home range of only 14 acres. Durham said that this is a very small home range and smaller than most previous home ranges found in past studies in other places.
Durham also remarked that two adult bucks have finally begun to show increased movement, with one making about a two-mile trek and then returning.
"Researchers have been able to get amazingly close to some of the bucks while taking GPS locations. This illustrates an adult buck's ability to avoid hunters by staying put and laying low in heavy cover," said Durham.
The deer study site is in the state's latest breeding area, and deer movement likely will continue to increase into January and February.
Trapping deer for the study is scheduled to begin for the second season in early February and deer movement will continue to be monitored. Trapping efforts will be expanded to the north side of Interstate 10 and on the west side of Choctaw Bayou.
A camera survey will also be conducted in February, as well as the second herd health collection. A browse survey will be conducted in the spring.
LDWF and LSU would like to thank the volunteers and contributors that have been so helpful and generous with their time, facilities and financial donations including: Acoustical Supplies, The Southeast Deer Study Group, the Quality Deer Management Association, the Bercham Group, Acadian Sportsmen's League, Bayou State Bowhunters, and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. Also special thanks go to Vic Blanchard, Alex Chauffe, and Kenny Hernandez, whom have given LDWF and LSU great access, logistical help and work effort.
White-tailed deer are an important economic and recreational resource across their entire range. In Louisiana and other southeastern states, land managers are choosing strategies geared toward developing quality deer herds. Because this management regime involves restricting harvest of younger-age-class bucks and increasing the harvest of females to lower herd density, substantial interest exists in understanding the effects of quality deer management on population characteristics.
For more information, contact Scott Durham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-765-2351.