Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Demarais, Stephen

Committee Member

Riffell, Samuel K.

Committee Member

Gee, Kenneth L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Recreational hunters play an important role in managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); however, the potential for deer to alter behaviors to avoid hunters has not been addressed within the risk-allocation hypothesis. I evaluated magnitude (i.e., hunter density) and temporal variation (i.e., time of day and initial and prolonged exposure) in human predation risk on movements, resource selection, and observation rates of 37 adult male deer in southern Oklahoma. Deer recognized human predation risk by increasing diel path complexity and use of security cover with greater hunter density. Moreover, deer reduced movement rates and tortuosity while seeking out areas with security cover during prolonged exposure. However, tortuosity and use of security cover remained elevated with greater hunter density. These alterations in behaviors subsequently led to a decrease in observation rates during prolonged exposure. My results clearly support the predation risk-allocation hypothesis by the behavioral responses observed with greater hunter density.