Effects of population reduction on white-tailed deer home-range dynamics

Northeastern Naturalist
By: , and 



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.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of population reduction on white-tailed deer home-range dynamics
Series title Northeastern Naturalist
DOI 10.1656/045.022.0215
Volume 22
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher BioOne
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 10 p.
First page 403
Last page 412
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Randolph County
Other Geospatial MeadWestvaco Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest