Abstract

Title:  Spatial Use and Movements of Mature White-Tailed Deer in Northcentral Pennsylvania
Author(s): Andrew K. Olson - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Michael E. Byrne - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; William D. Gulsby - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Bradley S. Cohen - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; David A. Osborn - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Karl V. Miller - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia
Year: 2014
Abstract: Little is known about the movement ecology and habitat use of mature (= 3- years-old) male white-tailed deer, especially in unfragmented, forested landscapes where human disturbance is minimal. We assessed spatial use, habitat selection, and fine scale breeding season movements of mature males in a relatively unfragmented northern hardwood forest in northern Pennsylvania. During December 2011 - April 2012, we fit 19 mature bucks with GPS collars programmed to collect hourly fixes throughout the year as well as every 15 minutes from 1 October - 31 December 2012. We used the Dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Model to construct seasonal home ranges and core areas and compare movement variances during the breeding season. We assessed seasonal ranges and habitat selection for 15 deer. Home ranges varied seasonally (fall x= 907 ac, SE = 376; winter x= 826 ac, SE= 99; spring x= 717 ac, SE= 94; summer x= 415 ac, SE= 61). Select-harvested and clear-cut stands as well as forest openings were important throughout the year. Mast drop during late summer/fall prompted home range shifts to mature oak stands. We were only able to obtain complete breeding season data from 3 mature bucks. Movement of the mature males increased during the peak rut period, as did weekly home range and core area sizes. Daytime movements increased up to 8 times from pre-rut to rut time period, although bucks remained predominately crepuscular throughout all breeding periods.

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