PSU Deer Study

We know that dispersing yearling bucks tend to disperse parallel to the ridges in this part of Pennsylvania. Do those bumps in the landscape affect movements or home range when they get to where they are going?

Let’s ask Buck 28357. He was at least 2.5 years old in 2018. He lived on state forest land (until he was harvested the second week of rifle season). This area of state land included everything from the valley floor to the ridge top. The ridge to the north topped 2000’ in elevation and the valley floor sat about 1140’. Where did Buck 28357 choose to live and move given these options?  

In early October, there are few instances when he moved less than 5 yards in an hour (yellow dots). Even though he’s on the move, he really doesn’t scale any heights.  

In late October, he still constantly on the move but he maxes out at just under 1600’ elevation.

In November, his movement rates triple. During the first two weeks of November, he averaged 312 yards/hr, up from 112 yards/hr during October.

What effects ridges and valleys have on home ranges and movements is anything but clear. We’ve seen bucks with home ranges centered on ridge tops, side hills, and valleys. Buck 28357 decided living closer to the valley floor was the place to be. 

-Duane Diefenbach

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