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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Home range sizes of red deer in relation to habitat composition: a review and implications for management in Sweden

Jarnemo, Anders; Nilsson, Lovisa; Wikenros, Camilla


Knowledge about deer spatial use is essential for damage mitigation, conservation, and harvest management. We assess annual and seasonal home range sizes in relation to habitat composition for red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Sweden, using GPS-data from two regions with different management systems. We compare our findings with reviewed data on red deer home range sizes in Europe. Annual and seasonal home ranges during calving, hunt, and winter-spring, decreased with increasing proportion forest. Female annual home ranges in a mixed agricultural-forest landscape were three times larger than in a forest-dominated landscape. Core areas (50% Kernels) were approximately 1/5 of the full annual and seasonal home ranges (95% Kernels) regardless of habitat composition. Home range size in the forest-dominated landscape showed little inter-seasonal variation. In the agricultural-forest landscape, home ranges were larger during calving, hunt, and winter-spring compared to summer and rut. In the forest-dominated landscape, management areas are large enough to cover female spatial use. In the agricultural-forest landscape, female spatial use covers several license units. Here, the coordinated license system is needed to reach trade-offs between goals of conservation, game management, and damage mitigation. Males had in general larger home ranges than females, and the majority of the males also made a seasonal migration to and from the rutting areas. The license system area in the agricultural-forest landscape is large enough to manage migrating males. In the forest landscape, a coordination of several management areas is needed to encompass male migrations. We conclude that management needs to adapt to deer spatial use in different types of landscapes to reach set goals.


Cervus elaphus; Deer management; Landscape structure; Large herbivores; Spatial use; Ungulates

Published in

European Journal of Wildlife Research
2023, Volume: 69, number: 5, article number: 92
Publisher: SPRINGER

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      Fish and Wildlife Management

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