Published Abstracts from Research Projects

An Evaluation of Two Georgia Quality Deer Managed Wildlife Management Areas

By: Kent E. Kammermeyer and Tamara M. Terry*

In an effort to identify factors contributing to the success of Quality Deer Management (QDM) on state-operated Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), we selected two QDM WMAs with at least 25 years of consecutive pre- and post-QDM data.  On Dawson Forest WMA (31.3 sq. mi.) and Chickasawhatchee WMA (30.8 sq. mi.), we compared 30 variables reflecting hunters, harvest, deer condition, and population parameters pre- and post-QDM regulations (4 points on one side) using regression statistics and Students t-tests for 12 years pre- and post-QDM. QDM regulations were successful on Dawson Forest but not on Chickasawhatchee. Dawson Forest pre-QDM harvest (0.5 quality bucks/sq. mi.) compared with 1.2 quality bucks/sq. mi. post-QDM (P<0.01).  Hunter density and total deer kill were greater post-QDM (P< 0.01), as was button buck and doe kill (P<0.01). There were no differences in age specific condition indicators or recruitment rates pre- and post-QDM.  Buck and doe age structures were older post-QDM (P<0.01) and got older in the post-QDM period (P<0.05). Factors contributing to QDM success include increased hunting pressure, no deer population decline, and increasingly older buck age structures.  Chickasawhatchee quality buck harvest/sq.mi. (1.6) was the same pre- and post-QDM despite hunter density being higher (P<0.01) post-QDM. Hunter success and total harvest were both lower post QDM (P<0.01) and progressively decreased, indicating a declining deer population. Doe weights (fawn and 1½) were greater (P<0.01) post-QDM as was 2½ year-old buck beam length (P<0.01). Buck age structure was older post-QDM (P<0.01) but doe age structure was not. Lack of QDM success in this WMA is attributed to over-harvest of does, forage competition with an increasing wild hog population, and habitat decline due to pine canopy closure. Results suggest that QDM success on public lands depends on recruiting and stockpiling older bucks and harvesting a proportion of these with high hunting pressure.

Presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Deer Study Group, February 21-23, 2005, Sheperdstown, WV.

*Tamara Terry - Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries