Three free-living female European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) were fitted with a telemetry implant to measure heart-rate. Observations of behavior of undisturbed deer were made during daylight from 12 February to 12 September 1996 in the Hestehave Forest (185 ha), Kalø, Denmark. Behaviors were classified in 14 different categories. Heart rate (HR, in beats/min) in 10-s intervals was characterized by the mean HR, short-term, long-term, and overall HR variation within an observation period as well as the autocorrelation of mean HR and short-term variability. A statistical model described 90.1% of the observed variation in HR and included 4 parameters: category of behavior, Julian date, deer age, and wind speed. From 11 April to 4 August, HR is described by a tandem cosine curve with a peak on 6 May. In contrast, HR variability (short-term, long-term, and overall variability) was constant throughout the year. HR increased by 0.36 beats/min each time wind speed increased by 1 m/s, and HR variability was also positively affected by the wind speed. HR and HR variability was highest for locomotive behaviors, medium for standing behaviors, and lowest for bedded behaviors. Autocorrelation of mean HR and short-term variability was not significantly affected by any of the observed variables. Using mean HR and HR variability, it was possible statistically to distinguish 10 categories of behavior ranging from bedded with closed eyes (60.5 beats/min) to fleeing (254.8 beats/min).
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