In 1995, aggressive behaviour of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was studied at winter feeding stations in the Pohenegamook wintering area, Quebec (47 degrees 29'N 69 degrees 14'W), to determine if such behaviour was related to priority of access to food by various age-sex classes. Deer were observed daily at 4 feeding sites and weekly at 6 others. More than 100 deer frequented these 10 feeding sites. Two sampling procedures were used to record behaviour: continuous record and instantaneous scan samples. Competition for food was severe and interaction rates were high at the feeding points. Even though bucks spent more time feeding than does and fawns, they did not deny the latter access to the food. In late winter, does and fawns were more aggressive and had better access to food. Group size was positively related to interaction rates and negatively to access to food. The composition of the group was the variable that most affected access to food. Does and fawns shared the resource with low interaction rates and weak aggressiveness in the absence of bucks. At this wintering area, emergency winter feeding would be effective, particularly because there was some sexual segregation observed at most of the feeding sites.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department de Biologie, Universite Laval, Sainte-Foy, Qc G1K 7P4, Canada.|
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