The survival of 159 yearling and adult deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was monitored by telemetry during 282 spring and 219 fall individual migrations to winter deeryards in northeastern Minnesota. A disproportionate number of deer were killed by wolves (Canis lupus) during fall migration relative to the short time they spent migrating, but not during spring migration. Predation was also significantly greater for male and female yearlings and adult females outside deeryards during winter. Survival of 79 yearlings dispersing from natal ranges was high (1.00). It appears that changing climatic conditions combined with unfamiliar terrain and undetermined factors predispose migratory deer to wolf predation during fall. These findings support an earlier hypothesis that winter yarding is an antipredator strategy.
Additional publication details
Wolf predation risk associated with white-tailed deer movements