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

Results


GG6974 and GG7000

Like the previous three generations, during the 3 years we radio-tracked GG6974 she migrated annually between the same summer and winter ranges as her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. During spring migrations when 1.9 and 2.9 years old, she accompanied her mother and younger sister GG7000. Her 30 summer range locations and 58 presence checks indicated that she occupied the same area as the other members of the matriline (Table 1).

GG7000 also migrated annually to the summer and winter ranges used by the matriline. However, she differed markedly from her ancestors by becoming nonmigratory on her summer range when older. In late October 1992, when 5.5-years old, she migrated to her winter range for 3 days but returned to her summer range with her fawn. The following winter, when 6.9-years old, she again migrated to winter range but very late, 9 March, where we captured her with two male fawns. During the next 2 years, at 7.5 and 8.5 years old, she again remained on her summer range during winters and was killed there by wolves.

We located GG7000 63 times and confirmed her presence on summer range 258 times during 1988-1996 (Table 1). Unlike her mother, we found her only once in the west half of the matriline's range. As a yearling she remained near her mother but also explored new areas 1 and 3 km to the east and north, respectively, for periods less than 10-20 days. She repeated her northern foray as a 2-year-old but was never located there again during the subsequent 6 years. At 2 and 3 years of age she still only used the east half of her mother's area, but used her 1-km eastward expansion extensively as a core-activity area during fawning when 3 years old and as a primary area until her death at 8.9 years old.

Figure 6.
Fig. 6.   Locations (n = 19/deer) of 4-year-old G6996 and 3-year-old GG7000 in April-October 1990. One location 2 km north of Gabbro Lake in April is not shown for GG7000.

Summer Range Relationships

Summer 1988, 9 years after the death of M112, provided our only opportunity to radio-track three generations of the matriline simultaneously, when D106, G6381, G6996, GG6974, and GG7000 concurrently used the same area (Figs. 4 and 5). Three of the females used exclusive sites, where we located them 90% of the time during June through mid-August. In contrast, we found two near their mother 40% of the time, but they also explored new areas 1-3 km beyond their previous locations. D106 used the 1977-1979 fawning site of her mother, 1 km from her own fawning site when 5 years old, and quite possibly the location of her own birth in 1974. Also, G6381 used much of her mother's 1979 fawn-rearing site, and GG6974 established an exclusive site between those of her mother and grandmother. All three females moved throughout the original home range of M112 in spring and fall during their tracking tenure, but never expanded beyond its original boundaries.


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