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Conditional daily and seasonal movement strategies of male Columbia black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)

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Animals move to maximize fitness via resource acquisition, predator avoidance, thermoregulation, or mate access. Variations in movement strategies among and within populations often reflect habitat- or demographic-specific variations in fitness trade-offs. To examine these conditional movement strategies, we modeled seasonal and diel movement patterns of radio-collared adult male Columbia black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus (Richardson, 1829)) on a temperate, predator-free island. Linear 10 h displacement and home-range areas reached annual maxima during autumn and minima during late winter, corresponding with known dates for breeding season and lowest quality forage, respectively. For all males in all years, initiation of increased movements began during spring and again, abruptly, in late September, immediately prior to peak breeding season. Larger antlered males continued increased movements longer into December, suggesting increased breeding effort relative to smaller antlered males. Time of day predicted movements during all seasons; however, we observed no strong evidence of the crepuscular or nocturnal movement bias typically noted in deer, likely relating to the lack of predators in our study area. In this way, male black-tailed deer adopted conditional, seasonally specific movement strategies to balance fitness trade-offs in resource acquisition, thermoregulation, and mate access.

Keywords: Columbia black-tailed deer; Odocoileus hemionus columbianus; activity; activité; amours; breeding; cerf à queue noir; compromis; conditional strategy; déplacement; generalized additive mixed model; modèle mixte additif généralisé; movement; saisonnier; seasonal; stratégie conditionnelle; trade-offs

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-01-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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