Home Range Size

By GrowingDeer,

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Hey Dr. Woods,

I have read that a buck’s home range is about 1 mile and a doe’s is about a quarter mile.  I have also read that bucks will travel up to 5 miles in search of hot does during the rut.  How much of this is true?  Do bucks travel that far out of their known area?

Thanks again!



Like humans, deer exhibit much individuality, especially in their home range size.  In general the home range size of both bucks and does are smaller in areas of better habitat.  Good quality habitat is composed of quality food, cover, and water in close proximity.  The closer the proximity of these three habitat components, the less deer are required to move to meet their daily requirements.

Some, but not all bucks and does take sojourns from their home range, especially  during the rut.  Researchers can track the movements of individual deer using GPS collars.  However, we usually don’t have all the deer in the herd collared, so we don’t know if the buck or doe is traveling with another deer during these sojourns.

There are lots of “average home range sizes” published for deer.  However, that’s like saying the average adult male is 5’8” tall.  That’s the average but the vast majority of adult males are either taller or shorter than 5’8”.  The same is true for the average deer home range size.  The “average” is a nice number, but probably is applicable to only a small percentage of deer.

Growing Deer together,