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Home Range and Habitat Use of Female White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan

Nielsen, Clayton K., Stroud-Settles, Janice K.
Mammal study 2018 v.43 no.3 pp. 179-185
Odocoileus virginianus, autumn, deer, females, home range, winter, Michigan
Because knowledge of home range dynamics and habitat selection is lacking for whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, we radiomarked 89 female deer and studied these aspects of their biology during 2005–2008. Mean (± SE) size of annual home ranges and core areas (n = 89) were 2.3 ± 0.1 km² and 0.5 ± 0.2 km², respectively, and somewhat smaller than in other northern deer populations. Mean home-range and core-area sizes for the springsummer period (n = 87) were 1.9 ± 0.1 km² and 0.4 ± 0.1 km², respectively. Mean home-range and core-area sizes for the fall-winter period (n = 29) were 2.1 ± 0.2 km² and 0.5 ± 0.1 km², respectively. Neither home-range nor core-area sizes differed seasonally (P > 0.135), and seasonal home ranges were comparable in size to other northern deer populations. Cover-type use did not differ seasonally between home ranges and core areas (P = 0.752). Most deer resided in the same general area year-round and had overlapping seasonal home ranges and core areas. We conclude that stability observed in seasonal home ranges and habitat selection were influenced by relatively warm winter conditions during our study.