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Spatiotemporal patterns of male and female white-tailed deer on a hunted landscape

Cite this dataset

Gulsby, William; Stewart, Dylan; Ditchkoff, Stephen; Collier, Bret (2022). Spatiotemporal patterns of male and female white-tailed deer on a hunted landscape [Dataset]. Dryad.


Resource selection in sexually dimorphic ungulates is at least partially explained by sex-specific resource requirements and risk aversion strategies. Females generally spend more time in areas with less risk and abundant, high-quality forage due to their smaller body size. However, demographically variable responses to risk are context dependent, and few have concurrently quantified male and female behavior within areas with the same resource base. We captured 111 (54 males, 57 females) adult white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from 2009–2018 on a site in South Carolina, USA, where hunters were the primary source of adult mortality. We fit each deer with a GPS collar programmed to collect locations at 30-min intervals. Upon collar recovery, we analyzed the data to estimate sex- and time-specific selection for, and distance to, various cover types. While both sexes generally avoided risky areas (i.e., sites hunted more frequently) during the day, females (p = 0.41) were more likely than males (p = 0.16) to use risky areas containing abundant food resources during the day, where p = probability of selection. Our findings indicate that female white-tailed deer may be forced to utilize high risk areas during high risk periods due to their smaller body size and increased nutritional demands, whereas larger males are better able to forgo foraging opportunities during risky periods to mitigate risk, however, our study design left room for the possibility that our observations were driven by innate sex-specific patterns in white-tailed deer. Nonetheless our study contributes information to the literature by describing sex-specific resource selection by diel period on a site where sexes shared the same resources and were presented with the same landscape of risk. --


South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Norfolk Southern (United States)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: 1005302