U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



International Journal of Geographical Information Science Vol. 25, No. 3, March 2011, 379–392


Variation in the size and overlap of space use by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has broad implications for managing deer–human conflicts and disease spread and transmission in urban landscapes. Understanding which factors affect overlap of home range by various segments (i.e., age, sex) of an urban deer population has implications to direct contact between deer on disease epidemiology. We assessed size of home range and overlap of space use using the volume of intersection index (VI) for deer in an urban landscape by sex, age, season, and time of day. We found mean space use was larger for males than for females, for males, <3 years old than for males ≥3 years old, and during nocturnal hours compared with diurnal hours. We also identified larger space use by both sexes during the non-growing than the growing season. Overlap of space use for female and male deer in our urban landscape differed considerably depending on demographic (i.e., age) and environmental variables (i.e., time, season). For example, highest mean VIs occurred between 6-year-old females (mean = 0.51 ± 0.10) and 5- and 6-year-old males (mean = 0.49 ± 0.14); no mean VI was greater than 0.31 between females and males for any age combination. Variation in overlap of space use for urban deer provides new information for managing deer–human conflicts and direct transmission of disease between various segments of a deer population in an urban landscape.