Duane Diefenbach, Ph.D.

Duane Diefenbach, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology
  • Leader, PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
404 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • biometrics
  • white-tailed deer
  • harvest management
  • population estimation


  • B.S., Washington State University (1985)
  • M.S., University of Maine (1988)
  • Ph.D., University of Georgia (1992)

Academic Interests

Wildlife ecology, estimation of population parameters, and harvest management of game populations

Affiliated Programs

Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Courses Taught

Estimation of Fish and Wildlife Population Parameters

Professional Affiliation

I am active in The Wildlife Society and a Certified Wildlife Biologist. I have served as associate editor for The Journal of Wildlife Management, vice president of the Northeast Section, and chair of the Biometrics Working Group. I encourage graduate students in my lab to actively participate in The Wildlife Society at the state, regional, and national levels. Also, I am a member of The Biometric Society and The Ecological Society of America.

Recent Research/Educational Projects

Ecology and Management of White-tailed Deer My students and I have been collaborating with the Pennsylvania Game Commission since 2000 on a series of research projects on deer and deer hunters. This work has included studying survival and causes of mortality in fawns, effects of antler restriction regulations on harvest rates and dispersal in bucks, dispersal behavior or female white-tailed deer, and the spatial distribution of hunters and deer harvest as influenced by roads and landscape characteristics.

My current deer research is The Deer-Forest Study, which is a long-term study of the relationship of deer herbivory, competing vegetation, and soil conditions on the forest vegetation conditions. I am collaborating with Dr. Marc McDill, forest ecologist, and Dr. Patrick Drohan, pedologist, and we have several graduate students collaborating on this research.

Black Bear Population and Harvest Characteristics Pennsylvania's black bear population has the highest reproductive rates of anywhere in the world. Annually, Pennsylvania harvests approximately 20% of a population of nearly 20,000 bears. In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, I have been studying factors that influence the harvest rate to develop more accurate and efficient population estimators.

Wild Turkey Harvest I recently completed research to understand the effect of changes in fall hunting season on harvest rates on female wild turkeys. I am currently using this information to develop a stochastic dynamic model for setting fall hunting seasons in collaboration with Dr. Paul Fackler at North Carolina State University.

Selected Publications

Lutz, C. L., D. R. Diefenbach, C. S. Rosenberry. 2016. Proximate influences on female dispersal in white-tailed deer. Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21106

Lutz, C. L., D. R. Diefenbach, C. S. Rosenberry. 2015. Population density influences dispersal in female white-tailed deer. Journal of Mammalogy 96:494-501.

Buderman, F. E., D. R. Diefenbach, C. S. Rosenberry, B. D. Wallingford, and E. S. Long. 2014. Effect of hunter selectivity on harvest rates of radio-collared white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania. Journal of Wildlife Management DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.779.

Norton, A. S., D. R. Diefenbach, B. D. Wallingford, C. S. Rosenberry. 2012. Spatio-Temporal Variation in Male White-Tailed Deer Harvest Rates in Pennsylvania: Implications for Estimating Abundance. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:136-143. 

Laake, J. L. D. Johnson, D. R. Diefenbach, M. A. Ternent. 2014. Hidden Markov Model for Dependent Tag Loss and Survival Estimation. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 19:522-540.

Diefenbach, D. R., M. R. Marshall, J. A. Mattice, and D. W. Brauning. 2007. Incorporating availability for detection in estimates of bird abundance. Auk 124:96-106.

Diefenbach, D. R., J. L. Laake, and G. L. Alt. 2004. Spatio-temporal and demographic variation in the harvest of black bears: implications for population estimation. Journal of Wildlife Management 68: 947-959.