Human Predation Risk Effects On Adult, Male White-Tailed Deer Antipredator Behavior
Little, Andrew Richard
CommitteeRiffell, Samuel K.
Gee, Kenneth L.
Recreational hunters play an important role in managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); however, the potential for deer to alter behaviors to avoid hunters has not been addressed within the risk-allocation hypothesis. I evaluated magnitude (i.e., hunter density) and temporal variation (i.e., time of day and initial and prolonged exposure) in human predation risk on movements, resource selection, and observation rates of 37 adult male deer in southern Oklahoma. Deer recognized human predation risk by increasing diel path complexity and use of security cover with greater hunter density. Moreover, deer reduced movement rates and tortuosity while seeking out areas with security cover during prolonged exposure. However, tortuosity and use of security cover remained elevated with greater hunter density. These alterations in behaviors subsequently led to a decrease in observation rates during prolonged exposure. My results clearly support the predation risk-allocation hypothesis by the behavioral responses observed with greater hunter density.