Aycrigg, J. L. and W.F. Porter. 1997. Sociospatial dynamics of white-tailed deer in the central Adirondack Mountains of New York. Journal of Mammalogy, 78(2):468-482.
Abstract: We compared the sociospatial behavior among and within kin groups of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) inhabiting a contiguous forest environment of the central Adirondack Mountains of New York. This population had not been hunted since 1932 and contained females > 10 years old. We estimate that 60-75% of all females were individually marked. Although actual genetic relatedness among females was uncertain, previous research on this population included genetic analyses of kin groups and our data showed long-term fidelity of individuals to kin groups. We hypothesize that although sociospatial behavior at the group level is relatively rigid, the sociospatial patterns of individuals within groups are more flexible. Specifically, we predict that sociospatial patterns within groups vary with age and reproductive status. Data from radiotelemetry and visual observations were used to delineate kin groups. Kin groups were classified using two techniques: distance between activity centers based on harmonic means on summer range, and grouping individual deer based on location on summer and winter range. Females in our study population exhibited a high level of philopatry to summer ranges inhabited by their kin group (<3% of females dispersed from their natal area). The use of winter ranges was more variable. Movements of individuals on summer range did vary with age: females >5 years old maintained home ranges in spring and summer that were more exclusive than those of younger females. Pregnant females used smaller areas during spring than barren females.