The main objective of this study was to characterize spatial patterns of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) movement related to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) transmission risk to cattle in north-western Minnesota. Twenty-one adult deer (16 females and 5 males) were captured during winter (January–March) 2011 in areas adjacent to where an outbreak (2005–2009) of bTB occurred in deer and cattle. Deer were fitted with GPS collars programmed to collect deer location information every 90 min over a 15-month period. The exact locations of cattle, cattle feeding areas, and stored forage that were available to collared deer were assessed seasonally. In total, 47% (n = 9) of collared deer survived to the end of the study. Causes of mortality included wolves (n = 6), hunters (n = 1) and unknown (n = 2); additionally, 2 deer were censored due to collar malfunctions. Our results indicated that 5 deer (25%) had home ranges that included 6 cattle farms (20%). Most (77%) of the deer visits occurred in areas where cattle were present, with most visits (60%) from 00:00 to 06:00. March to May revealed the most farm visitations by deer (37%). This study provided baseline information regarding cattle–deer interactions critical to transmission of bTB in this region and suggested that risk mitigation practices should be implemented to separate wildlife and domestic livestock when feasible.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors acknowledge University of Minnesota Rapid Response Fund Projects and the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Faculty Research Development Program for funding. Also, the authors greatly acknowledge the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for collaborations required to complete this study.
© 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
- bovine tuberculosis
- transmission risk
- white-tailed deer