Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on free-ranging ungulates overcomes many limitations of conventional very high frequency (VHF) telemetry and offers a practical means of studying space use and home range estimation. To better understand winter home ranges of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), we evaluated GPS collar performance, and we compared GPS- and VHF-derived diurnal home ranges (for the same animals) and GPS-derived home range estimates for diurnal and nocturnal locations. Overall, the mean fix success rate of our GPS collars was 85% (range = 14–99%). Kernel density estimates of home range (using the 95% probability contour) derived from GPS and VHF locations were generally similar, as were GPS-derived diurnal and nocturnal home ranges. Overlap indices between GPS and VHF utilization distributions (UDs) ranged from 0.49 to 0.78 for the volume of intersection (VI) index and from 0.67 to 0.94 for Bhattacharyya's affinity (BA); overlap indices for GPS-diurnal and nocturnal UDs ranged from 0.29 to 0.81 for VI and from 0.56 to 0.94 for BA. Despite similarities of home ranges estimated from GPS versus VHF locations and GPS-diurnal versus nocturnal locations, our data also indicate that differences may have important implications for studies focused on deer use of space, habitat, and resources at a finer scale.
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Vol. 73 • No. 5