Surgical sterilization by tubal ligation has been proposed as a technique for controlling white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in urban or suburban areas where other forms of population control are impractical, but little is known about demographic rates in populations under management with surgical sterilization. We analyzed seasonal movement and mortality data collected during a 4-year study of surgical sterilization in suburban Chicago, Illinois, USA. We calculated 323 home range size estimates for 62 individual females within season and year. Non-gravid females without young exhibited home range sizes 52 larger than gravid females and females with fawns. Mortality rate was positively correlated with home range size. We suggest that the increased mortality rate observed in surgically sterilized females may be due to greater movement by non-maternal females. Population managers will need to account for potential effects of maternal status on movement and mortality when considering the use of sterilization for management of suburban populations of white-tailed deer.
- maternal status
- Odocoileus virginianus
- population control
- white-tailed deer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics