Great Basin Naturalist


Forty-two white-tailed deer fawns (Odocoileus virginianus dakotensis) were captured and fitted with radio transmitters and observed from June through September 1991 and 1992 to determine diurnal bed site use in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Fawns were monitored biweekly during daylight hours and 259 bed sites were located. In addition, 301 random sites were measured for comparison. Of 31 habitat variables measured, 8 were significant to determine use by fawns for a bed site when compared with random sites. Sites used by fawns were in relatively open stands of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) with mean basal area of approximately 11 m2/ha compared to 16 m2/ha in random sites. Fawn bed sites had greater mean vegetation cover, which ranged from 28.1% to 36.0%, compared with 19.9% and 33.8% at random sites in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Mean vegetation height was 101 cm at bed sites compared to 75 cm at random sites. Current timber harvest standards for stocking levels of pine range from 14 m2/ha to 18 m2/ha in the Black Hills, which are similar to our random sites. These levels preclude adequate development of understory characteristics used by white-tailed deer fawns for bed sites.