Elk NetworkStudy: Mule Deer, Whitetail React Differently to Wolves

General | March 5, 2019

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington shows whitetail deer and mule deer act differently when wolves are on the landscape.

Scientists placed collars on both wolves and deer and monitored date accumulated over three years of study near Republic in northeast Washington.

“Mule deer faced with the threat of wolves are really changing their home ranges, on a large scale,” said Aaron Wirsing, associate professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “They appear to have shifted kilometers away from where they had been prior to the return of wolves, generally going up higher where the terrain is less smooth and where wolves are less likely to hunt successfully.”

On the other hand, it’s pretty much business as usual for whitetail deer which use their keen eyesight and sprinting abilities to stay clear of wolves and other predators.

The study is published in the Dec. 11 issue of the journal Oecologia.

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