Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Edward B. Mondor


White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are native to Georgia. With over 1.2 million individuals in the state, White-tailed deer have been implicated in a large number of motor vehicle collisions (ca. 1 million) each year. It is unknown, however, if deer are more likely to be killed: 1) if they are of particular ages (or classes), and 2) in areas with specific road characteristics. We addressed these two questions by collecting the remains of 20 White-tailed deer killed in deer vehicle collisions (“deer vehicle accidents” - DVAs) in Bulloch County, GA. When a deer was located, the road characteristics were noted and the head was removed. In the lab, the lower jaw was excised so the deer could be aged by: 1) tooth eruption sequence and 2) cementum annuli aging of incisors. The proportion of deer in the study involved in a DVA that were one year and 7 months or younger was 0.55 using the tooth wear and replacement method. The proportion of deer in the study involved in a DVA that were one year or younger was 0.60 using the cementum annuli aging method. Deer were more likely to be killed on a 2-lane road, and on a paved road. It was not clear how speed limit, while significant, influenced DVAs. Signage should be posted on roads with a higher risk of a DVA to make drivers more aware of potential dangers.

Available for download on Thursday, April 19, 2018