Adult White-tailed Deer Seasonal Home Range and Habitat Composition in Northwest Louisiana

Despite decades of interest and research, many questions remain about seasonal movements and habitat use of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), particularly in the Southeast. The advent of GPS-based telemetry has made detailed studies of year-round movements feasible. We assessed monthly habitat use for adult male (n = 15) and female (n = 15) deer at Barksdale Air Force Base in northwestern Louisiana using GPS radio collars collecting locations at hourly intervals over approximately one year. Males had larger monthly home ranges (97-380 ha) than females (44-181 ha), particularly in fall and winter; however, habitat use was similar between sexes. Early-successional habitats, such as openings and shrub communities, were used more than expected by both sexes throughout the year, as were mature bottomland hardwood stands. Thinned hardwood stands and wetland habitats were used less than expected. Our results suggested that deer of both sexes were able to obtain resources to support their year-round needs in a seasonally consistent, relatively small, area and that management to benefit deer at the site has been generally successful in producing high quality habitat.

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