I monitored survival of 34 female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Bloomington, Minnesota, from October 1996 to December 1999. Twenty deer died: nineteen were killed by vehicles, and one was killed in a deer-removal program conducted by an adjacent suburb. Summer survival was high and varied little over the 3 years of study (range = 0.93 to 0.95). Fall survival ranged from 0.84 to 1.00, and winter survival was generally high during the 3 years of study, except during a severe winter (range = 0.72 to 0.95). I calculated population growth rates (λ) from Leslie matrix projections, using these survival estimates and productivity data collected from road-killed female deer in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) metropolitan area. When winter survival was high (0.94), my model simulations indicated the Bloomington deer population increased by 21% when no deer management program was in place. When a low winter survival rate (0.72) was modeled, the population decreased by 7%, even when no deer management program was implemented. I modeled what impact contraception may have on population growth and concluded that treating >50% of adult female deer was necessary to stabilize population growth, and treating all females was necessary to decrease population growth under high winter survival conditions. I concluded that removal programs are more effective than immunocontraception programs because survival contributes more to population growth rates in deer populations than fecundity. I recommend removing 20% and 40% of adult female deer in the population to cause the population to stabilize or to reduce deer numbers, respectively. I recommend managers collect deer–vehicle collision data because these data potentially represent the most accurate and easily-obtainable life history component of an urban deer herd.
Grund, Marrett D.
"Survival Analysis and Computer Simulations of Lethal and Contraceptive Management Strategies for Urban Deer,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 5
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol5/iss1/5