Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Journal or Book Title
Western North American Naturalist
We determined the movement patterns and survival rates of 85 radio-marked adult female Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) wintering on the Northern Yellowstone Winter Range (NYWR). We assessed seasonal movement and distribution patterns and individual fidelity to those patterns, along with seasonal habitat selection and survival rates. Twenty-three percent of the deer were nonmigratory, remaining on the winter range year-round, and 77% were migratory, moving 10–104 km from winter to summer ranges. No deer switched between migratory and nonmigratory status. All migratory deer that were monitored for ≥2 years exhibited traditional movement patterns and utilized the same winter and summer ranges in all years. Mean winter and summer home range sizes for migratory deer were 1076 ha (SE 129) and 1527 ha (SE 249), respectively, and mean home range size for resident deer was 3100 ha (SE 902). There was a dichotomy in winter habitat use, with one group of deer selecting cultivated and grassland vegetation land cover classes and a second group of deer selecting shrubland and grassland vegetation land cover classes. A dichotomy in summer habitat use was evident between those deer selecting for unburned forest and avoiding all burned land cover classes and those deer selecting for moderate and high burn intensity land cover classes and avoiding unburned forest. We estimated annual mean survival at 0.813 (SE 0.028) and found no differences in survival rates among migratory deer, nonmigratory deer, or deer exhibiting differences in winter or summer habitat selection patterns.
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Gogan, Peter J.; Klaver, Robert W.; and Olexa, Edward M., "Northern Yellowstone Mule Deer Seasonal Movement, Habitat Selection, and Survival Patterns" (2019). Natural Resource Ecology and Management Publications. 332.