The Deer Laboratory at Auburn University
Deer in field

Our current understanding of white-tailed deer is largely based on research of free-ranging deer and captive deer housed in small pens. While these studies have supplied a wealth of information, these research environments do not provide outlets to answer many of the questions that must be addressed in order to further our knowledge of deer. In October 2007, we constructed our deer research facility in an effort to answer important questions that cannot be addressed in conventional study areas. Our goal was to develop a unique research environment where we had the ability to gain intimate, life-time knowledge of each individual, while also maintaining “natural” behavior.

The facility is located just 20 minutes from the Auburn University campus, and it is comprised of 430 acres enclosed by nearly 4 miles of 8′ fence. The deer herd is composed entirely of wild deer enclosed during construction and their descendants. Our goal is to capture and gather information from each deer at least once a year. To accomplish this, we capture deer almost year-round. We mark all deer with unique three digit ID numbers visible on ear tags and freeze brands. Body measurements, antler measurements, tissue samples, and blood are just a few of the various pieces of collected information. We maintain about 100 adult deer at the facility with balanced numbers of males and females. The size of the deer herd is regulated naturally and by releasing some of the captured individuals. Be sure to check out the Publications and Current Students pages to learn more about studies at the facility.

Last modified: June 29, 2017