Missouri Whitetail Travels Nearly 200 Miles

Missouri Whitetail Travels Nearly 200 Miles Outdoor Life

A Whitetail Buck’s Epic 200-Mile Journey

A groundbreaking study has revealed an astonishing story of wanderlust in the world of whitetail deer. During the 2017 rut, a mature buck in Missouri surpassed all expectations by traveling a staggering 200 miles in just 22 days, averaging an impressive 8.5 miles per day.

Published in the journal Ecology and Evolution by the University of New Hampshire, the study examined data from GPS radio collars placed on over 600 Missouri deer. One particular buck, known as N17003, stood out for its remarkable feat. This extraordinary traveler crossed seven large rivers, a major interstate, and eight smaller state highways, leaving a trail that spanned the length of nearly 200 miles.

Remington Moll, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology and the lead author of the study, expressed his surprise at the discovery, given the extensive knowledge already amassed about deer. He stated, “Deer are one of the most abundant, well-known, and intensely managed species of wildlife in the United States, so to make this discovery despite deer being so well studied is pretty surprising.”

Missouri Whitetail Travels Nearly 200 Miles Outdoor Life

The significance of this finding extends beyond its marvel. It has crucial implications for population management and disease transmission, particularly in relation to chronic wasting disease. The researchers also noted that N17003’s journey took place primarily during the 2017 hunting season.

Intriguingly, adult male deer typically exhibit limited movement within their home range compared to their juvenile counterparts, who roam more extensively in search of breeding opportunities. This makes N17003’s epic journey even more exceptional.

What’s more, the buck seemed to have a nocturnal preference, as his travels were faster and more directed during the nighttime hours. The sheer distance covered by N17003 can be compared to the distance between New York City and Baltimore.

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Moll acknowledged that this rare event may be more common than previously realized, given that large-scale tracking of deer has only been conducted relatively recently. He emphasized, “It’s entirely possible that it could be happening with greater frequency than we’ve known.”