4/2/2012, By: Graduate Students
Last month the deer lab went to Destin, FL to enjoy the warm weather, beautiful ocean, white sandy beaches… and to get the most recent information on deer and current deer research. The Southeast Deer Study Group Meeting is an annual meeting hosted in a different southeastern state each year, where deer researchers from the entire country come to talk about all things deer. This is the event our entire lab looks forward to throughout the year because make new friends and we see old friends. It’s like going to an annual family reunion.
Each year, a ‘hot’ topic is addressed, and this year’s topic was examining if coyotes are shifting deer management schemes throughout the Southeast. Dr. Karl V. Miller and Dr. Michael Chamberlain both gave invited talks on the topic. Their talks underscored one central theme: Coyote’s behavioral plasticity and it’s large movements make it hard to get rid of. It’s going to be on hunters to use local deer herd data and doe management to adapt to this new predator.
Along with professionals and professors presenting, student’s also give presentations on their research. James Kelly, Michael Cherry and Bradley Cohen all gave talks this year on their research. James Kelly showed that coyotes switch over to eating fawns during spring, regardless of the alternative foods that are out there. Michael Cherry examined predator avoidance in deer, showing that deer avoid areas where coyotes are located. Bradley Cohen talked about the visual sensitivity of deer, showing that deer’s vision is a well oiled machine for predator detection. All three talks were well received, with Bradley and Michael being awarded First and Second place, respectively, for the “Best Student Presentation Award.”