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White-tailed Deer Management Options Model (DeerMOM): Design, Quantification, and Application
Journal or Book Title: Ecological Modelling
Keywords: DeerMOM; Harvest management; Odocoileus 6irginianus; Population modeling; Quality deer management; White-tailed dee
Page Number(s): 121-130
Year Published: 1999
The deer management options model (DeerMOM) is a computer simulation model designed to assess the effects of management options on population size, sex and age structure of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus 6irginianus). In this model, we grouped deer into three age classes: fawn, yearling, and adult. Reproductive rates and fetal sex ratios were age-specific, while natural and harvest mortality rates were both age- and sex-specific. DeerMOM was parameterized to represent the deer population in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Effects of winter severity were incorporated into the model. Population estimates derived from annual pellet group surveys were used to validate the model. Different management options were evaluated using two criteria: a quantity goal (number of deer) and a quality goal (percentage of antlered bucks in the deer population). Simulation results indicated that current management practices (with a high rate of buck harvest) resulted in high deer numbers with a low percentage of antlered bucks. Under the condition of high buck harvest rate, increasing doe harvest did not achieve both the quantity and the quality goals simultaneously. Moderate harvest of both sexes would control population growth and increase the percentage of antlered bucks. The simulations also showed that winter weather conditions and doe harvest shaped deer population trends but buck harvest determined the percentage of antlered bucks. Our findings indicated that quality deer management objectives can be reached only by lowering buck harvest rates while simultaneously increasing the doe harvest. The best option for achieving both the quantity and the quality goals was moderate harvest of bucks and does without sex bias.
Type of Publication: Journal Article