The social behavior of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) provides an opportunity for managing deer populations. In northern forests, female deer associate in multigeneration social groups and exhibit site fidelity. We tested whether localized removal of a social group created a persistent area of lower deer density on Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) in New York, USA. We examined relative abundance and home ranges of deer to determine whether the removal created a lower-density area, how long the lower-density area persisted, and origin of repopulating females. Abundance declined due to removal. Home-range analysis showed that no radiomarked deer from surrounding areas moved into the removal area post-removal and that deer density was reduced for 5 years. Repopulating deer were offspring of females remaining within the removal area or immigrants from adjacent social groups.
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Vol. 68 • No. 2