Use of Mississippi Bottomland Hardwoods by White-tailed Deer

Nine white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) outfitted with radio collars were observed for 9 months or longer to monitor seasonal movements and habitat utilization. Estimates of seasonal home-range size, using a multivariate method, varied from 176 ha to 1245 ha, and annual home range size varied from 455 ha to 2216 ha. Average annual home ranges of 4 females (737 ha ± 219 SD) was about half the average home range of 5 males (l511 ha ± 571 SD). Habitat utilization/availability analysis demonstrated significantly greater (P < 0.05) utilization of dense bottomland hardwood sawtimber than expected on an annual basis by 5 of the deer, and all deer used this habitat type in greater proportion than expected from its availability. Of 19 habitat types tested, only dense hardwood sawtimber showed a consistent use preference by deer. However, 3 deer showed geometric shifts in home range activity centers in the summer toward soybean fields, suggesting greater utilization of this habitat type than indicated by utilization/availability analysis.

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