Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Wildlife

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Peter Pekins


This study assessed productivity and nutritional condition of deer in New Hampshire, and physical condition, productivity, and recruitment in northeastern North America. In New Hampshire, few fawns bred, but pregnancy rate and productivity of older deer were high and stable since the 1980s, despite substantially higher population density. Productivity increased due to a higher proportion of adults in 2011-2013; however, recruitment declined steadily suggesting that summer fawn mortality has increased. Nutritional condition declined throughout winter, and regardless of winter severity, most deer had depleted energy reserves and were in poor condition after April 1. These findings emphasize the need to consider the timing and length of severe winter conditions when interpreting a winter severity index. Similar patterns of stable productivity and physical condition, and declining recruitment were also observed regionally.