Characteristics of Dominant and Subordinate Led Social Groups of White-Tailed Deer in Illinois

By Nixon, Charles M.; Mankin, Philip C. et al. | The American Midland Naturalist, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Characteristics of Dominant and Subordinate Led Social Groups of White-Tailed Deer in Illinois


Nixon, Charles M., Mankin, Philip C., Etter, Dwayne R., Hansen, Lonnie P., Brewer, Paul A., Chelsvig, James E., Esker, Terry L., Sullivan, Joseph B., The American Midland Naturalist


ABSTRACT.-

This study of dominant and subordinate led social groups of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was designed to investigate longevity and associations among members as well as the reproductive success that determines the durability of these groups. Characteristics of 25 dominant and 17 subordinate female led social groups of white-tailed deer were studied on three areas in Illinois. Group size for dominant led social groups ranged between 3.8 and 5.2 deer/y and for subordinate led groups only 2-2.5 deer. Dominant females survived significantly longer (8.2 y) then did subordinate females (5.4 y) and fawns born to dominants were significantly more sedentary after independence. Fawn recruitment (fawns alive at 1 y) was also significantly higher for fawns born to dominant females. Members of a dominant female's social group generally confined themselves to the home range of the dominant female but as they aged were seen less often with her. Dominant females occupied stable habitats free of environmental problems while subordinates occupied ranges with frequent natural and human induced disturbances. By association, fawns of dominant females inherit a stable home range that fosters improved longevity and successful fawn recruitment

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

How social groups form and maintain stability through time has not been well documented in the Midwest Agricultural Region. Permanent cover is scarce and fragmented in this Region, and female whitetails exhibit high levels of dispersal or migratory behaviors manifested in response to high spring population densities and limited parturition sites prior to agricultural crop maturation (Sparrowe and Springer, 1970; Vercauteren and Hygnstrom, 1994; Brinkman et al, 2005; Nixon et al, 2007, 2008). Social bonding among ruminants appears to have evolved as a means to better compete for resources and to aid in avoiding predation (Weckerly, 1999) . Family groups develop when the inclusive fitness of offspring that remain sedentary exceeds that of offspring that disperse from their natal range (Emlen, 1994).

White-tailed deer society is organized as groups of related deer that are led by a dominant matriarch surrounded by various relatives of both sexes that share portions of the matriarch's home range (Nixon et al, 1991; Porter et al, 1991; Miller and Ozoga, 1997). As dominance seems to be a function of age in white-tailed deer (Townsend and Bailey, 1981), the key to obtaining a dominant position is survival to an adequate age (Porter et al, 1991). Females must live long enough on a stable home range to produce offspring that perpetuate landscape tenure, with die matriarch and daughters able to fend off competing conspecifics.

Female fawns learn about their female relatives as early as the first month of life and this familiarity continues throughout life (Schwede et al, 1994; Tang-Martnez, 2001). Social inheritance of a home range among females evolves because selection should favor minimal dispersal of females, allowing grouping to reduce predation risk (Nelson and Mech, 1981). Proliferation of these social groups located on the most secure home ranges maintains the highest number of deer closest to the safest landscape (Nelson and Mech, 1981 ; Ozoga et al, 1982; Mathews and Porter, 1993; Mathews et al, 1997).

In this paper we were concerned with the effects of social rank on individual characteristics such as longevity and reproductive success, rather than how social rank was obtained at the time of capture (through dyad encounters won and lost) . Dominant and subordinate rank refers to the female social position in the population as a whole based on years of deer observations on the study areas, often from shortly after birth until death. We compare the frequency of association, survival, fawn recruitment and dispersal rates for known dominant and subordinate females and their offspring on three study areas in Illinois where female dispersal is a prominent characteristic of population dynamics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Characteristics of Dominant and Subordinate Led Social Groups of White-Tailed Deer in Illinois
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.