Mathews, N.E. 1989. Social structure, genetic structure and anti-predator behavior of white-tailed deer in the central Adirondacks. Ph.D. Dissertation, SUNY ESF, Syracuse, 171 pp.

Abstract: This study focuses on indirect anti-predator tactics based on the spatial orientation of home ranges of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) within eight social groups on Huntington Wildlife Forest, Newcomb, New York from 1986 to 1989. I hypothesize that spatial location of home ranges within a social group is related to age and that location, among other factors, minimizes predation on younger animals.

Results indicate that female deer within social groups are not arranged randomly as suggested by a correlation between home range location, home range size and age of deer. Home ranges of young deer (<2 yrs) almost completely overlap the home ranges of older deer. This pattern may be explained, in part, as an anti-predator tactic. Dams and their neonates utilize the same home range during the period that fawns are least mobile and presumably most vulnerable to predation. Neonates probably obtain both direct and indirect protection from their dams. High amounts of home range overlap occur between all individuals within a social group suggesting that deer may be more social in forested habitats than previously believed.