Mississippi State University Carnivore Ecology Laboratory

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Study Design

Objectives

Estimate survival and cause-specific mortality of white-tailed deer fawns and does.

Estimate proportion of fawn mortality attributable to black bear (Ursus americanus), coyote (Canis latrans), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and wolf (C. spp.).

Estimate number and age of fawns killed by a bear, coyote, bobcat, or wolf during summer.

Provide updated information on white-tailed deer pregnancy and fecundity rates.

Estimate annual and seasonal resource use (e.g., habitat) and home range of white-tailed deer.

Estimate if familiarity of an area to each predator species affects the likelihood of fawn predation.

Assess if estimated composite bear, coyote, bobcat, and wolf use of an area influences fawn predation rates.

Describe association between fawn birth site habitat characteristics and black bear, coyote, bobcat, or wolf habitat use.

Estimate seasonal resource use (e.g., habitat, prey) and home range size of black bear, coyote, bobcat and wolf.


Study Area

The second phase of this study spans about 1,000 km2 (386 mi2) within Deer Management Unit (DMU) 036 in Iron County (Figure 1). The general study area boundaries follow State Highway M-95 on the east, US Highway 41/28 on the north, US Highway 141 on the west, and State Highway M-69 on the south. The core study area, where most capture efforts and population surveys will occur, is north of the Michigamme Reservoir and includes state forest, commercial forest association, and private lands. The overall study area will comprise a minimum convex polygon that will include the composite locations of all telemetered animals. We selected this study area because it occurs within the mid-snowfall range, receiving about 180 cm of snowfall annually (about 53 cm more snowfall annually than the phase 1 study area near Escanaba). Deer in this area migrate longer distances and exhibit yarding behavior during most winters as compared to Escanaba where deer migrate only short distances or are non-migratory (Beyer et al. 2010) and yard less frequently. After completing this portion of the study, a third and final study site will be selected in the high-snowfall zone of the Upper Peninsula.


Click here for a pdf map of Michigan's Deer Management Units.

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