Urinary cortisol, urea nitrogen excretion, and winter survival in mule deer fawns Academic Article uri icon


  • Physiological indices are commonly used to assess the condition of wildlife populations. The underlying assumption when using such indices is that they are associated with survival rates and/or reproductive success. However, such an association has never been demonstrated conclusively in wildlife populations. From 7 December 1987 to 15 April 1988 we monitored survival of 101 wild mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawns in 2 fenced pastures, and determined levels of cortisol: creatinine and urea nitrogen: creatinine ratios in urine of 14 tame yearling mule deer using the same ranges. The 2 pastures were stocked with deer in November-December 1987 at high (0.66 km 2 ; 41 adults, 50 fawns, 7 tame yearlings; 148 deer/km 2 ) and low (1.69 km 2 ; 29 adults, 51 fawns, 7 tame yearlings; 51 deer/km 2 ) density

publication date

  • January 1, 1992