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Twenty-year Home-range Dynamics
of a White-tailed Deer Matriline


Capture and Demography

We captured and radio-tracked six female deer for this study from 1976 through 1996, of which five had mother-fawn relationships (Fig. 1). In different years we captured adult female D106 with fawns G6381 and G6996. We later twice recaptured G6381 as an adult, first with fawn GG6974 and a year later with fawn GG7000. Based on their association after capture, shared migration, and the shared area of summer range locations (Figs. 2 and 3), we considered the sixth female (M112) to be the mother of D106, known mother and grandmother to the other females. The advanced age of M112 and our knowledge of female dispersal suggest that she was at least a 10-year occupant of the site used by the other females. If she was not the mother of D106, then M112 was at the very least, and most plausibly, a close relative.

Figure 1.
Fig. 1.   Genetic relationships, ages, and years of first capture and end of radio-tracking interval for a 20-year white-tailed deer matriline. Matriline members and their relationship to the matriarch are as follows: M112, matriarch; D106, daughter; G6381, granddaughter; G6996, granddaughter; GG6974, great-granddaughter; and GG7000, great-granddaughter. A dotted line represents life before capture and a solid line indicates the radio-tracking interval after capture.

Home-range Dynamics

During April through November in 1976-1996, we located members of the matriline 482 times and confirmed their presence aerially on each of an additional 479 checks, always within the same 3-km² area. We concurrently radio-tracked five females during 1988, four during 1989, three in 1987, and two during 8 other years (Table 1). In 8 of the years we radio-tracked only one member.

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