Responses of Female White-tailed Deer Home-Ranges to Increased Resource Availability

Author(s): Shawn M. Crimmins, John W. Edwards, Tyler A. Campbell, W. Mark Ford, Patrick D. Keyser, Brad F. Miller, and Karl V. Miller

Published: April 2015

View Full Text

Management strategies designed to reduce the negative impacts of overabundant Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) populations on forest regeneration may be influenced by changes in both population density and timber harvest. However, there is conflicting evidence as to how such changes in per capita resource availability influence home-range patterns. We compared home-range patterns of 33 female White-tailed Deer from a low-density population at a site with abundant browse to patterns of a sample of >100 females prior to a 75% reduction in population density and a doubling in timber harvest area. Home-range and core-area sizes were approximately 3 times larger than were found prior to population decline and timber harvest increase, consistent with predictions related to intraspecific competition. We also observed greater site fidelity than previously exhibited, although this may be an artifact of increased home-range sizes. Our results support previous research suggesting that White-tailed Deer home-range size is inversely related to population density and is driven, in part, by intraspecific competition for resources. Relationships among population density, resource availability, and home-range patterns among female White-tailed Deer appear to be complex and context specific.

Suggested Citation

Crimmins, S.M., J.W. Edwards, T.A. Campbell, W.M. Ford, P.D. Keyser, B.F. Miller, and K.V. Miller. 2015. Responses of female white-tailed deer home-ranges to increased resource availability. Northeastern Naturalist 22(2):403–412.