Advertisement

Journal of Ethology

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 283–290 | Cite as

Activity patterns and temporal predator avoidance of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during the fawning season

  • Summer D. Higdon
  • Corinne A. DigginsEmail author
  • Michael J. Cherry
  • W. Mark Ford
Article

Abstract

In the presence of a predator, prey may alter their temporal activity patterns to reduce the risk of an encounter that may induce injury or death. Prey perception of predation risk and antipredator responses may increase in the presence of dependent offspring. We conducted a camera trap study during summer 2015 in North Carolina and Tennessee, USA to evaluate temporal avoidance of a predator (coyote Canis latrans) by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We analyzed activity patterns of bucks, does, and nursery groups (i.e., groups that included fawns) relative to those of coyotes to determine the coefficient of overlap (Δ) using a kernel density estimator. We found that bucks and does had similar Δ with coyotes [Δ1 = 0.729 (0.629–0.890) and Δ1 = 0.686 (0.558–0.816, respectively] and exhibited crepuscular activity patterns comparable to those of coyotes. However, nursery groups displayed a dramatically different activity pattern: unimodal activity was concentrated in the middle of the day with little overlap with coyote activity [Δ1 = 0.362 (0.176–0.491)]. Because adult deer are rarely prey for coyotes, whereas fawns are common prey during summer, the shift in activity patterns of nursery groups demonstrates a behavioral shift likely aimed at avoiding coyote predation on fawns.

Keywords

Camera traps Canis latrans Landscape of fear Reproductive condition Risky time hypothesis Prey–predator interaction 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Sheryl Bryan, Marquette Crockett, and Matt McCombs provided logistical support. Housing was provided by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Equipment and supplies used in this project were provided by Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Associate editor Nobuyuki Kuthsukake, as well as Susan Lingle, and L. Mike Conner provided comments that greatly improved this manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest in relation to this work. The use of any trade name, product or firm does not imply endorsement by the US government.

References

  1. Andelt WF, Kie JG, Knowlton FF, Cardwell K (1987) Variation in coyote diets associated with season and successional changes in vegetation. J Wildl Manage 51:273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ballard WB, Whitlaw HA, Young ST, Jenkins RA, Forbes GJ (1999) Predation and survival of white-tailed deer fawns in northcentral New Brunswick. J Wildl Manage 63:574–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bastille-Rousseau G, Fortin D, Dussault C, Courtois R, Ouellet J (2011) Foraging strategies by omnivores: are black bears actively searching for ungulate neonates or are they simply opportunistic predators? Ecography 34:588–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beier P, McCullough DR (1990) Factors influencing white-tailed deer activity patterns and habitat use. Wildl Monogr 109:3–51Google Scholar
  5. Bertrand MR, DeNicola AJ, Beissinger SR, Swihart RK (1996) Effects of parturition on home range and social affiliation of female white-tailed deer. J Wildl Manage 60:99–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bridges AS, Noss AJ (2011) Behavior and activity patterns. In: O’Connell AF, Nichols JD, Karanth KU (eds) Camera traps in animal ecology: methods and analyses. Springer, New York, pp 57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bridges AS, Vaughan MR, Klenzendorf S (2004) Seasonal variation in American black bear Ursus americanus activity patterns: quantification via remote photography. Wildl Biol 10:277–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brivio F, Bertolucci C, Tettamanti F, Filli F, Apollonio M, Grignolio S (2016) The weather dictates the rhythms: alpine chamois activity is well adapted to ecological conditions. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 70:1291–1304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown JS (1999) Vigilance, patch use and habitat selection: foraging under predation risk. Evol Ecol Res 1:49–71Google Scholar
  10. Cherry MJ, Conner LM, Warren RJ (2015) Effects of predation risk and group dynamics on white-tailed deer foraging behavior in a longleaf pine savanna. Behav Ecol 26:1091–1099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cherry MJ, Morgan KE, Rutledge BT, Conner LM, Warren RJ (2016a) Can coyote predation risk induce reproduction suppression in white-tailed deer? Ecosphere 7(10):e01481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cherry MJ, Turner KL, Howze MB, Cohen BS, Conner LM, Warren RJ (2016b) Coyote diet in a longleaf pine ecosystem. Wildl Biol 22:64–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cherry MJ, Warren RJ, Conner LM (2017) Fire-mediated foraging tradeoffs in white-tailed deer. Ecosphere 8:e01784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Childress MJ, Lung MA (2003) Predation risk, gender and group size effect: does elk vigilance depend on the behaviour of conspecifics? Anim Behav 66:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chitwood MC, Lashley MA, Kilgo JC, Pollock KH, Moorman CE, DePerno CS (2015) Do biological and bedsite characteristics influence survival of neonate white-tailed deer? PLOS ONE 10(3):e0119070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clinchy M, Sheriff MJ, Zanette LY (2013) Predator-induced stress and the ecology of fear. Funct Ecol 27:56–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clutton-Brock TH, Albon SD, Guiness FE (1989) Fitness costs of gestation and lactation in wild mammals. Nature 337:260–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Conner LM, Cherry MJ, Rutledge BT, Killmaster CH, Morris G, Smith LL (2015) Predator exclusion as a management option for increasing white-tailed deer recruitment. J Wildl Manage 80:162–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Core Development Team R (2016) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Core Development Team, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  20. Creel S, Christianson D (2008) Relationships between direct predation and risk effects. Trends Ecol Evol 23:194–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Creel S, Winnie JA, Maxwell B, Hamlin K, Creel M (2005) Elk alter habitat selection as an antipredation response to wolves. Ecology 86:3387–3397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Creel S, Winnie JA, Christianson D, Liley S (2008) Time and space in general models of antipredator response: test with wolves and elk. Anim Behav 76:1139–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crimmins SM, Edwards JW, Houben JM (2012) Canis latrans (coyote) habitat use and feeding habits in central West Virginia. Northeast Nat 19:411–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Daan S (1981) Biological rhythms. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Daan S, Aschoff J (1982) Circadian contributions to survival. In: Aschoff J, Daan S, Groos GA (eds) Vertebrate circadian systems. Springer, Berlin, pp 305–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Diggins CA, Gilley LM, Kelly CA, Ford WM (2016) Comparison of survey techniques on detection of northern flying squirrels. Wildl Soc Bull 40:654–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dröge E, Creel S, Becker MS, M’soka J (2017) Risky times and risky places interact to affect prey behavior. Nat Ecol Evol 1:1123–1128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fortin D, Boyce MS, Merrill EH, Fryxell JM (2004) Foraging costs of vigilance in large mammalian herbivores. Oikos 107:172–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fortin D, Beyer HL, Boyce MS, Smith DW, Duchesne T, Mao JS (2005) Wolves influence elk movements: behavior shapes a trophic cascade in Yellowstone National Park. Ecology 86:1320–1330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gallagher AJ, Trull PF, Faherty MS, Freidenfelds N, Heimbuch J, Cherry MJ (2019) Predatory behaviors of coyotes (Canis latrans) living in coastal ecosystems. Ethol Ecol Evol 31:198–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gompper ME (2002) Top carnivores in the suburbs? Ecological and conservation issues raised by colonization of north-eastern North America by coyotes. Bioscience 52:185–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grovenburg TW, Swanson CC, Jacques CN, Klaver RW, Brinkman TJ, Burris BM, Deperno CS, Jenks JA (2011) Survival of white-tailed deer neonates in Minnesota and South Dakota. J Wildl Manage 75:213–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grovenburg TW, Monteith KL, Klaver RW, Jenks JA (2012) Predator evasion by white-tailed deer fawns. Anim Behav 84:59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gulsby WD, Killmaster CH, Bowers JW, Kelly JD, Sacks BN, Statham MJ, Miller KV (2015) White-tailed deer fawn recruitment before and after experimental coyote removals in central Georgia. Wildl Soc Bull 39:248–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gulsby WD, Cherry MJ, Johnson JT, Conner LM, Miller KV (2018) Behavioral response of white-tailed deer to coyote predation risk. Ecosphere.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-5809(76)90040-x Google Scholar
  36. Hill EP, Sumner PW, Wooding JB (1987) Human influences on range expansion of coyotes in the southeast. Wildl Soc Bull 15:521–524Google Scholar
  37. Hirth DH (1985) Mother-young behavior in white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus. Southwest Nat 30:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hudgens BR, Garcelon DK (2010) Induced changes in island fox (Urocyon littoralis) activity do not mitigate the extinction threat posed by a novel predator. Oecologica 165:699–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jackson RM, White M, Knowlton FF (1972) Activity patterns of young white-tailed deer fawns in south Texas. Ecology 53:262–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jacobsen NK (1979) Alarm bradycardia in white-tailed deer fawns (Odocoileus virginianus). J Mammal 60:343–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kelly MJ, Holub EL (2008) Camera trapping of carnivores: trap success among camera types and across species, and habitat selection by species, on Salt Pond Mountain, Giles County, Virginia. Northeast Nat 15:249–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kilgo JC, Ray HS, Ruth C, Miller KV (2010) Can coyotes affect deer populations in southeastern North America? J Wildl Manage 74:929–933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kilgo JC, Ray HS, Vukovich M, Goode MJ, Ruth C (2012) Predation by coyotes on white-tailed deer neonates in South Carolina. J Wildl Manage 76:1420–1430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kitchen AM, Gese EM, Schauster ER (2000) Changes in coyote activity patterns due to reduced exposure to human persecution. Can J Zool 78:853–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kronfeld-Schor N, Dayan T (2003) Partitioning of time as an ecological resource. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:153–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lashley MA, Chitwood MC, Biggerstaff MT, Morina DL, Moorman CE, DePerno CS (2014) White-tailed deer vigilance: the influence of social and environmental factors. PLOS ONE 9:e90652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lashley MA, Chitwood MC, Kays R, Harper CA, DePerno CS, Moorman CE (2015) Prescribed fire affects female white-tailed deer habitat use during summer lactation. For Ecol Manage 348:220–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Laundré JW, Hernández L, Altendorf KB (2001) Wolves, elk, and bison: reestablishing the “landscape of fear” in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A. Can J Zool 79:1401–1409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Liley S, Creel S (2008) What best explains vigilance in elk: characteristics of prey, predators, or the environment? Behav Ecol 19:245–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lima SL (1998) Nonlethal effects in the ecology of predator-prey interactions. Bioscience 48:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lima SL, Dill LM (1990) Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can J Zool 68:619–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lingle S (2000) Seasonal variation in coyote feeding behavior and mortality of white-tailed deer and mule deer. Can J Zool 78:85–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lingle S (2001) Anti-predator strategies and grouping patterns in white-tailed deer and mule deer. Ethology 107:295–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lingle S, Sergio MP, Wilson WF (2005) Interspecific variation in antipredator behavior leads to differential vulnerability of mule deer and white-tailed deer fawns early in life. J Anim Ecol 74:1140–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lingle S, Feldman A, Boyce MS, Wilson WF (2008) Prey behavior, age-dependent vulnerability, and predation rates. Am Nat 172:712–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McCallum J (2012) Changing use of camera traps in mammalian field research: habitats, taxa, and study types. Mammal Rev 43:196–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. McVey JM, Cobb DT, Powell RA, Stoskopf MK, Bohling JH, Waits LP, Moorman CE (2013) Diets of sympatric red wolves and coyotes in northeastern north Carolina. J Mammal 94:1141–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Meredith MS, Ridout M (2017) Package ‘overlap’. R package version 0.2.3. https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/overlap/overlap.pdf. Accessed 2 June 2017
  59. Moser AM, Diggins CA, Silvis A, Ford WM (2016) Habitat selection and activity patterns of Appalachian cottontail in high-elevation habitats in the southern Appalachians. In: Abstracts of the 23rd Annual Wildlife Society Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, 15–19 OctoberGoogle Scholar
  60. Nelson MA, Cherry MJ, Howze MB, Warren RJ, Conner LM (2015) Coyote and bobcat predation on white-tailed deer fawns in a longleaf pine ecosystem in southwestern Georgia. J Southeast Assoc Fish Wildl Agencies 2:208–213Google Scholar
  61. Newsome TM, Greenville AC, Cirovic D, Dickman CR, Johnson CN, Krofel M, Letnic M, Ripple WJ, Ritchie EG, Stoyanov S, Wirsing AJ (2017) Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions. Nat Commun 8:15469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Parker GR (1995) Eastern coyote. Nimbus, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  63. Pekins PJ, Smith KS, Mautz WW (1998) The energy cost of gestation in white-tailed deer. Can J Zool 76:1091–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ralls K, Kranz K, Lundrigan B (1986) Mother-young relationships in captive ungulates: variability and clustering. Anim Behav 34:114–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ridout MS, Linkie M (2009) Estimating overlap of daily activity patterns from camera trap data. J Agric Biol Environ Stat 14:322–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ripple WJ, Wirsing AJ, Wilmers CC, Letnic M (2013) Widespread mesopredator effects after wolf extirpation. Biol Conserv 160:70–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rohm JH, Neilson CK, Woolf A (2007) Survival of white-tailed deer fawns in southern Illinois. J Wildl Manage 71:851–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rowcliffe JM, Carbone C (2008) Surveys using camera traps: are we looking to a brighter future? Anim Conserv 11:185–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rowcliffe JM, Kays R, Kranstauber B, Carbone C, Jansen PA (2014) Quantifying levels of animal activity using camera trap data. Methods Ecol Evol 5:1170–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schrecengost JD, Kilgo JC, Mallard D, Ray HS, Miller KV (2008) Seasonal food habits of the coyote in the South Carolina coastal plain. Southeast Nat 7:135–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Schwede G, Hendrichs H, Wemmer C (1992) Activity and movement patterns of young white-tailed deer fawns. In: Brown RD (ed) The biology of deer. Springer, New York, pp 56–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shuman RM, Cherry MJ, Simoneaux TN, Dutoit EA, Kilgo JC, Chamberlain MJ, Miller KV (2017) Survival of white-tailed deer neonates in Louisiana. J Wildl Manage 81:834–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sih A (1984) Behavioral response rate between predators and prey. Am Midl Nat 123:143–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Stiling PD (1999) Ecology: theories and applications. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  75. Stone DB, Cherry MJ, Martin JA, Cohen BS, Miller KV (2017) Breeding chronology and social interactions affect ungulate foraging behavior at a concentrated food resource. PLOS ONE 12(6):e0178477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Swingen MB, DePerno CS, Moorman CE (2015) Seasonal coyote diet composition at a low-productivity site. Southeast Nat 14:397–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tambling CJ, Minnie L, Meyer J, Freeman EW, Santymire RM, Adendorff J, Kerley GIH (2015) Temporal shifts in activity of prey following large predator reintroductions. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 69:1153–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Taylor RJ (1984) Predation. Chapman and Hall, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Thorne ED, Waggy C, Kelly MJ, Jachowski DS, Ford WM (2017) Habitat associations of eastern spotted skunks in the central and southern Appalachians. J Wildl Manage 81:1042–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Thornton DH, Sunquist ME, Main MB (2004) Ecological separation within newly sympatric populations of coyotes and bobcats in central Florida. J Mammal 85:973–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Verme LJ (1989) Maternal investment in white-tailed deer. J Mammal 70:438–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Fish and Wildlife ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.US Geological Survey Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations