Reliable estimates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population parameters are needed for effective population management. We used radiotelemetry to compare survival and cause-specific mortality rates between male and female white-tailed deer and present reproductive data for a high-density deer herd in the central Appalachians of West Virginia during February 1999–May 2002. We recorded 343 winter deer captures. Our capture rate of 78 fawns/100 adult females was similar to visual observations of known fawns and adult female deer during winter. In-utero reproductive rates of adults (≥1 year old) was 138 fawns:100 females, based on a sample of 44 female deer. We radiomonitored 148 female and 43 male deer during the 3-year study. Yearling male annual mortality rates for human-induced and natural mortality were 0.63 (SD=0.09) and 0.12 (SD=0.12), respectively. Conversely, among yearling females, annual mortality rates for human-induced and natural mortality were 0.09 (SD = 0.06) and 0.05 (SD = 0.03), respectively. Adult male annual mortality rates for human-induced and natural mortality were 0.73 (SD=0.16) and 0.00, respectively, whereas adult female annual mortality rates for human-induced and natural mortality were 0.04 (SD = 0.01) and 0.08 (SD = 0.02), respectively. Our observed survival, mortality, capture, and reproductive data are characteristic of a population shaped by moderate fawn recruitment and excessive harvest of yearling male deer. We recommend a reduction in female deer to promote forest regeneration and protect biodiversity in this region. We believe this can best be achieved by liberalizing antlerless harvest regulations, through hunter education and corporate landowner incentive programs.
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