Many cervids exhibit similar behavior near and following parturition. For example, during their first 2 mo of life, fawn white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are relatively sedentary, may be at their highest risk for mortality and are not yet functional ruminants. Relatively few studies describe demographics or space use of fawn white-tailed deer ≤2 mo old despite the potential for mortality through this time period having a relatively large influence on deer population dynamics. Our objectives were to estimate survival, assess cause-specific mortality and describe space use (i.e., cover) of fawn white-tailed deer in an agro-forest ecosystem in south central Michigan. We captured (mid-May to mid-Jun.), radiomarked and monitored 34 fawns during 2004–2006 and pooled data for analyses. Two- and 6-mo survival estimates (Mayfield method) were 81% and 67%, respectively, and canids caused most mortalities during both time periods. Kernel home ranges (95%) during the first 2 mo averaged 40.9 ha (range = 2.7–166.8), with conifers and lowland deciduous forests selected in proportions higher than available on the study area.
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Vol. 159 • No. 2