White-tailed Deer Behavioral Response to Coyote Predation Risk

PROJECT OVERVIEW
The impact of coyotes on white-tailed deer varies across the landscape and is a function of herd characteristics, coyote densities, and habitat variable s. Coyotes affect deer through 2 pathways—(1) directly through mortality and (2) indirectly by eliciting behavioral responses to predation risk. Direct and indirect effects of predation can impact deer herd dynamics.

Previous work on The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway found that predator removal increased recruitment in a herd managed under quality deer management guidelines, illustrating the direct impacts of pr edation. Current research is focused on measuring the indirect effects of predation, including shifts in space use, foraging behavior, and body condition.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1. Evaluate coyote and white-tailed deer seasonal habitat selection and foraging behavior using high-frequency movement data (i.e., GPS-based move ment data collected at 15-minute intervals), relati ve to management activities commonly employed in the Southeast.

2. Develop models for predicting white-tailed deer parturition site selection and identifying habitat variables and land management history that are correlated with selection of parturition sites.

3. Evaluate changes in white-tailed deer herbivor y patterns and vigilance relative to habitat type and predator exclusion.

Principal Investigator: Michael Cherry