US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published in PRAIRIE INVADERS: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 20TH NORTH AMERICAN PRAIRIE CONFERENCE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT KEARNEY, July 23–26, 2006, edited by Joseph T. Springer and Elaine C. Springer. Kearney, Nebraska : University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2006. Pages 297-306.


Legal harvest of deer has never been allowed on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (QNWR) in south central Kansas; however, it is permitted on lands adjacent to the refuge. We assessed whether the rifle season for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) caused increased use of QNWR between 1989 and 2005. Deer spotlight surveys were conducted pre-rifle, rifle, and post-rifle seasons from 1989-2005. Total count, buck count, buck:doe ratio, fawns per doe, and percentage of does with twins were computed for each survey conducted. The average of the last 4 years (2002-2005) of the pre-rifle season surveys was 4.5 times greater than the 4-year average of pre-rifle surveys conducted between 1989-1992 . Buck counts also increased markedly between these 2 periods. Considerable fluctuations in buck:doe ratios and number of fawns per doe were observed between years. Fluctuation in the percentage of does with twins (versus does with single fawns) was also noted. Twining declined from highs of 43-47% between 1989-1993 to 10-27% between 2001-2005. Contrary to our expectation, counts within-year for the rifle- and post-rifle season were not greater than pre-rifle season counts. We recommend that the surveys be continued to provide an index for possible conservation planning and management on the refuge.