RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MULE DEER REPRODUCTION AND RESOURCE SELECTION: QUID PRO QUO.
Nathan J. Jackson; University of Nevada, Reno; 1664 N Virginia Street, Reno, NV, 89557; (520) 551-1960; njackson@cabnr.unr.edu; Kelley M. Stewart, Kevin T. Shoemaker, Darren A. Clark, Michael J. Wisdom
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) have experienced periodic population declines across most of their range in recent decades. While most populations are considered to have stabilized in recent years, mule deer continue to be at the forefront of management concern among state and federal wildlife agencies. Effective management of mule deer requires an understanding of how they interact with their environment. We conducted our study on the Starkey Experimental Forest in northeastern Oregon. We evaluated resource selection by mule deer using a Random Forest machine-learning approach. We assessed temporal variation in resource selection across three time periods: third trimester of pregnancy, 30 days post-parturition, and following the loss of offspring. Mule deer selected for further distances to roads during late stage pregnancy and after the loss of offspring. In contrast, mule deer selected for distances closer to roads during the 30 days post-parturition. We observed higher selection for distances closer to water while rearing young than the other two time periods. Our analysis also incorporated space use by elk. Mule deer showed avoidance for areas with high probability of elk use across all time periods.
Poster Session   Student Paper