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1 January 2005 DISPERSAL BY YEARLING MALE WHITE-TAILED DEER AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT
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Abstract

The scale at which populations use the landscape influences ecological processes and management decisions. Dispersal and home-range size define the scale of landscape use for many large-mammal species. We measured dispersal and home-range size of yearling male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southern Texas, and compared our results to values from the literature to understand the implications of dispersal in management of deer populations. We used radiotelemetry to monitor 22 yearling deer on 1 study site from October 1998 to October 1999, and 27 yearling deer on a second study site from October 1999 to October 2000. On the 2 study sites, 68% and 44% of yearling deer established new areas of use 4.4±1.0 km and 8.2±4.3 km, respectively, from the center of their autumn home range. Yearling males with spike antlers (2 points) were less likely to disperse than yearlings with fork antlers (> 2 points) on 1 study site. Computer simulation showed that the scale at which deer use the landscape is large compared to property sizes in southern Texas and probably in other areas of the white-tailed deer's range. Differences in scale between land ownership patterns and landscape use by deer may result in a failure to meet management objectives and conflict among managers. High harvest rates for male deer occur in part because deer movements are large relative to property size, creating a “tragedy of the commons.” Cooperative management groups are beneficial if all landowners in an area agree on management objectives. Otherwise, deer-proof fences often are erected to reduce conflicts among property owners.

J. EVAN McCOY, DAVID G. HEWITT, and FRED C. BRYANT "DISPERSAL BY YEARLING MALE WHITE-TAILED DEER AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT," Journal of Wildlife Management 69(1), 366-376, (1 January 2005). https://doi.org/10.2193/0022-541X(2005)069<0366:DBYMWD>2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 January 2005
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