Obtaining reliable survival estimates is important in the management of wildlife populations, particularly for the construction of computer simulation models. Many methods for estimating survival (e.g., radiotelemetry) are cost-prohibitive or time consuming. Life tables can provide survival estimates using data routinely collected by some management agencies. We calculated annual survival for Odocoileus virginianus clavium (Key deer) using age-specific mortality data. We compared our life-table estimates to those calculated from radiotelemetry data. Key deer survival estimates derived from life tables were similar to rates calculated from radiocollared deer. The only exception was for yearling/adult females on north Big Pine Key, where the life-table estimate was only slightly outside of the 95% confidence interval for the radiotelemetry estimate. Our results suggest that life tables based on age-specific mortality data can be a useful tool in estimating survival for Key deer. Comparing survival estimates from both methods allowed us to evaluate potential biases due to violation of assumptions associated with life-table calculations. While wildlife managers should be aware of the potential biases, age-specific mortality data may provide an adequate and cost-effective alternative for estimating survival.
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