Many factors are known or are thought to increase vulnerability to capture-related mortality in ungulates. I compared body condition of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelson), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) to assess whether those that survived capture differed from those that did not. Fate of ungulates was generally not related to condition (F1,646 = 1.6; P = 0.21), and this relationship was similar among species (species × fate interaction: F4,646 = 1.3; P = 0.29), season of capture (species × season × fate interaction: F6,646 = 0.6; P = 0.732), and sex (species × sex × fate interaction: F4,646 = 2.1; P = 0.08). The exception was male pronghorn that were in better condition showed a higher rate of mortality. Survival was not affected by number of times an individual previously had been captured, rectal temperature during handling, or mode of capture (helicopter darting or net-gunning). Individuals in poorer condition were not predisposed to capture-related mortality despite a significant proportion of individuals being in poor condition at capture (i.e., 60 to 67% of individual elk and mule deer 7% BF in late winter or >12% BF in late-autumn captures for mule deer and elk; and individuals with 0 cm of subcutaneous rump fat versus 1.5 cm for pronghorn) never differed among individual captures or species (Fisher’s exact P > 0.14). Although many factors can and do affect mortality associated with capture, low body condition did not predispose individuals to presumably capture-related mortality for any of these ungulate species, regardless of species, season, sex, or capture history of individuals.
Bender, Louis C.
"Does Body Condition Affect Immediate Post-Capture Survival of Ungulates?,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 9
, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol9/iss2/8