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1 October 2004 SURVIVAL, CAUSE-SPECIFIC MORTALITY, AND HARVESTING OF MALE BLACK-TAILED DEER IN WASHINGTON
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Abstract

We determined survival rates, causes of mortality, and documented impacts of harvest on ≥1.5-year-old male (hereafter, male) Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in 2 Washington, USA, game management units (GMUs; Skookumchuck and Snoqualmie) characterized by different hunting-season structures. We monitored 66 males (n = 28 and 38 annually) in Skookumchuck and 58 males (n = 26 and 32 annually) in Snoqualmie, September 1999–September 2001. Annual survival rates were 0.498 (SE = 0.066) in Skookumchuck and 0.519 (SE = 0.067) in Snoqualmie. Survival rates derived from population age structure did not differ from rates derived from radiotelemetry. Harvest was the primary mortality factor for each population, accounting for 67% (SE = 7; Skookumchuck) to 44% (SE = 9; Snoqualmie) of total annual mortality. Annual harvest-specific mortality rates were 0.317 (SE = 0.032) in Skookumchuck and 0.211 (SE = 0.021) in Snoqualmie, likely due to longer hunting seasons and greater hunter effort in Skookumchuck. Following the elimination of a late buck season centered on the rut in Snoqualmie, male harvest declined 56% and annual survival increased 60%, indicating that male harvest was largely additive to other mortality. Our results indicated that harvest was the primary influence on male black-tailed deer populations in Washington, was additive, and that the effect of harvest varied with hunting-season structure and hunter effort. Managers should not assume that harvesting removes a constant proportion of the male population annually, and management models that assume compensatory mortality in adult harvest may result in overharvest of male populations.

LOUIS C. BENDER, GREG A. SCHIRATO, ROCKY D. SPENCER, KELLY R. McALLISTER, and BRYAN L. MURPHIE "SURVIVAL, CAUSE-SPECIFIC MORTALITY, AND HARVESTING OF MALE BLACK-TAILED DEER IN WASHINGTON," Journal of Wildlife Management 68(4), 870-878, (1 October 2004). https://doi.org/10.2193/0022-541X(2004)068[0870:SCMAHO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 6 May 2003; Accepted: 2 August 2004; Published: 1 October 2004
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