US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 71(8):2767–2775; 2007.


We conducted a pilot study to test the usefulness of Global Positioning System (GPS) collars for investigating wolf (Canis lupus) predation on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns. Using GPS collars with short location-attempt intervals on 5 wolves and 5 deer during summers 2002–2004 in northeastern Minnesota, USA, demonstrated how this approach could provide new insights into wolf hunting behavior of fawns. For example, a wolf traveled ≥1.5–3.0 km and spent 20–22 hours in the immediate vicinity of known fawn kill sites and ≥0.7 km and 8.3 hours at scavenging sites. Wolf travel paths indicated that wolves intentionally traveled into deer summer ranges, traveled ≥0.7–4.2 km in such ranges, and spent <1–22 hours per visit. Each pair of 3 GPS-collared wolf pack members were located together for ≤6% of potential locations. From GPS collar data, we estimated that each deer summer range in a pack territory containing 5 wolves ≥1 year old and hunting individually would be visited by a wolf on average every 3–5 days. This approach holds great potential for investigating summer hunting behavior of wolves in areas where direct observation is impractical or impossible.