Seventeen white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were radio-tagged in winter yards and tracked for up to 17 months each (881 locations) from January 1973 through August 1974 in the central Superior National Forest of NE Minnesota following a drastic decline in deer numbers. Ten vyolves (Canis lupus) from 7 packs in the same area were radiotracked before and/or during the same period (703 locations). Deer had winter ranges averaging 26.4 ha. Spring migration took place from 26 March to 23 April and was related to loss of snow cover. Deer generally migrated ENE in straight-line distances of 10.0 to 38.0 km to summer ranges. Two fawns did not migrate. Arrival on summer ranges was between 19 April and 18 May, and summer ranges varied from 48.1 to 410.4 ha. Migration back to the same winter yards took place in early December, coincident with snow accumulation and low temperatures. Social grouping appeared strongest during migration and winter yarding. Survival of the radio-tagged deer was studied through 1 May 1975. Four deer were killed by wolves, one was poached, and one drowned. Mean age of the captured deer was 5.4 years and estimated minimum survival after capture was 2.6 years, giving an estimated total minimum survival of 8.0 years. This unusually high survival rate appeared to be related to the fact that both winter and summer ranges of these deer were situated along wolf-pack territory edges rather than in centers. In addition, most summer ranges of the radio-tagged deer were along major waterways where the deer could escape wolves.
Additional Publication Details
White-tailed deer migration and its role in wolf predation