As humans continue to move further from the urban epicenter and expand into suburban and exurban areas, problems involving coexistence of wildlife and human populations will become increasingly common. Wildlife biologists will be tasked with reducing wildlife–human conflicts, and their effectiveness will be a function of their understanding of the biology and life-history characteristics of wildlife populations residing in areas with high human density. In this study, we examined causes and timing of deaths of neonatal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in an exurban area of Alabama in 2004 and 2005, estimated survival rates, and determined factors that influenced survival for the initial 8 weeks of life. We found 67% mortality, with the leading causes being predation by coyotes (Canis latrans; 41.7%) and starvation due to abandonment (25%). These results suggest that coyote predation may be a significant source of natural mortality in exurban areas. Contrary to our original expectations, vehicle collisions were not an important cause of mortality.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3