Faculty Publications


Influence of social organization on dispersal and survival of translocated female white-tailed deer

Document Type



Dispersal, Odocoileus virginianus, Social behavior, Survival, Translocation, White-tailed deer

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Wildlife Society Bulletin





First Page


Last Page



Translocation to manage overabundant deer (Odocoileus spp.) is viewed by some people as an acceptable alternative to harvest. Yet, posttranslocation mortality is generally high, and impacts of translocated animals on deer already present at the release site are unknown. We tested the hypotheses that: (1) female white-tailed deer translocated with other members of their social group have lower postrelease dispersal and higher survival than unrelated deer, and (2) movements of resident deer at the release site are not affected by translocation. A social group of 12 females and a group of 5 randomly selected, unrelated females from a well-studied population in northern New York were translocated and released together at a site 60 km west, in May and June 1994. Mean dispersal distance of all translocated deer was 23.5 km and did not differ between social-group and unrelated group animals (P = 0.87). Postparturient females released without their fawns dispersed farther than females released while pregnant or barren (P ≤ 0.04). Survival did not differ between translocated groups (P = 0.47), but translocated deer had lower survival than resident deer at the release site (P = 0.06). Home-range size of 5 translocated deer after 1 year postrelease did not differ from 8 resident deer (P= 0.88). Movements of resident deer indicated no measurable response to the presence of translocated deer.

Original Publication Date


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