Sex-age selectivity and correlates of capture for winter-trapped white-tailed deer

Tim L. Hiller, Jordan Pusateri Burroughs, Henry Campa, Melinda K. Cosgrove, Brent A. Rudolph, Andrew J. Tyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the common use of Clover traps to capture white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), little published information exists quantifying trap success, trap selectivity (sex-age selection), or weather correlates of trap success. We quantified these relationships using white-tailed deer data from 3 study sites in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, USA, during winters 20012007. We captured 610 deer in 8,569 trap-nights; pooled capture success was 0.07 deer/trap-night, although site-year success varied from 0.021 to 0.086. We compared sex-age classes (fawn pooled by sex, ad M, ad F) captured with sex-age classes estimated to be available on each study site during each capture season. We used generalized linear mixed modeling to construct 19 a priori models to describe probability of capture success as a function of weather covariates (daily min. temp ° C, daily snowfall cm, daily snow depth cm), Julian day, site, and year. General selection patterns included fawns captured more than expected and adult males captured less than expected; adult females were generally neutrally selected. The quasi-Akaike's Information Criterion best model within our set was described by the global model without Julian day and contained all 3 weather covariates and site-year effects. Our model provided some evidence that as daily snow depth increased, probability of capture increased; the positive effect of daily snowfall on capture probability was dependent on decreasing daily minimum temperature. Our results may be used to increase efficacy of deer capture programs by researchers and managers through informed decision-making about when to allocate effort (e.g., if extreme winter weather conditions are predicted) and when to consider alternative methods (e.g., if capture of ad M is an objective).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-572
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Capture probability
  • Clover trap
  • Generalized linear mixed modeling
  • Michigan
  • Odocoileus virginianus
  • Trap selectivity
  • Trapping success
  • White-tailed deer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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