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Bocci A.,University of Siena | Angelini I.,University of Siena | Brambilla P.,University of Siena | Monaco A.,University of Siena | And 2 more authors.
Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

Context Population management of meso-large game species; knowledge of seasonal movements and sexual segregation. Aims We predicted (1) a similar mixed spatial tactic in the two sexes (shifters and residents); (2) that reproductive success could be a key factor eliciting a mixed spatial tactic in hinds; and (3) that hunting activities may affect the rutting season, influencing rutting site location. Methods We studied the spatial behaviour of 41 red deer on the Italian north-eastern Alps, from December 2003 to October 2007, by VHF radio-tracking. Key results For both sexes, two main spatial tactics were described, including residents, remaining in the same area all year long, and shifters, using non-overlapping seasonal home ranges. Most deer showed consistent spatial behaviour. In all, 87% of stags and 49% of hinds were shifters. Sexual segregation was greater in winter than in summer. All hinds wintered in the same valley, with residents in the qualitatively poorer, but protected, area. Resident hinds showed a variable yearly reproductive success, whereas usually all shifters had a calf at heel. Rutting areas of hinds overlapped with their winter or summer ranges, whereas stags occupied up to three different areas yearly. Deer distribution determined a different harvesting pressure on the two sexes. Conclusions Although shifters and residents were found in both sexes, differences in spatial behaviour of stags and hinds were consistent for seasonal occupancy, habitat selection and number of seasonal home ranges. For hinds, a mixed spatial tactic, seasonality and hunting activities could be key factors of reproductive success. Implications Hunting could affect the proportions of shifter and resident hinds at different levels, with the latter benefiting from the protection accorded. This unequally distributed selective harvesting may alter the local social structure and population dynamics in the long term. Shifter behaviour, seasonal movements and sexual segregation may bias population estimates, if counts are conducted when individuals make seasonal movements. Furthermore, the size of a hunting unit should be function of the extent of local movements of deer. © 2012 CSIRO.

Bocci A.,University of Siena | Monaco A.,University of Siena | Monaco A.,Latium Regional Park Agency | Brambilla P.,University of Siena | And 2 more authors.
Annales Zoologici Fennici | Year: 2010

Alternative strategies of space use may be present in a species or in a population as a response to different environmental parameters, especially in mountainous habitats, where heavy snowfalls in winter may determine important variations of habitat quality. The spatial behaviour of 20 radiotagged red deer hinds was assessed in a mountainous habitat in the eastern Italian Alps from 2002 to 2004. Two groups of hinds were identified: 'resident' females remained in the same area throughout the year; 'shifter' females showed separated winter and summer areas. No significant difference was found in seasonal home-range sizes between resident and shifter hinds in 2002 and in 2003. Each year, in summer, home-range quality of shifter hinds was significantly better than that of resident ones, while, in winter home ranges, habitat diversity was similar in the two groups. During the severe winter 2003-2004, 33% of females summering in lower quality habitat died, whereas mild winters did not influence the survival of our collared hinds. © Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2010.

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