During the breeding season, male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)have been reported to take excursions outside of their normal home ranges, likely in search of receptive females. However, we documented additional excursive movements by males during spring in north central Pennsylvania. From December 2011 – April 2012, we equipped 13 mature (≥2.5 y old) male white-tailed deer with global positioning system (GPS) collars programmed to record locations hourly. We defined an excursion as any occasion where a male traveled ≥1.6 km outside of its 95% home range boundaries for ≥12 h. Between 6 April and 6 June 2012, nine males (69.2%) made excursions with six making ≥2 excursions. Mean total path distance and duration of excursions was 4.0 km (range = 1.7-8.0 km) and 22 h (range = 12–40 h), respectively. Although the reason for spring excursions is obscure, hypotheses such as increased doe aggression before parturition, males returning to natal home ranges, or visitation to mineral sites do not appear tenable based on current observations.
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Vol. 174 • No. 1