Mule Deer Research in Utah by uTeJnz

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									     Mule Deer Research in Utah
 Mule Deer Plan Population Objective Strategies h & k
 Implement a method to collect annual adult doe and fawn
  mortality estimates on representative units statewide
 Implement research studies on specific herd units that are
  chronically below population objective to identify problems
  and recommend solutions
    What’s limiting deer population
                growth?
 Knowledge gaps
   Birth rates
   Cause specific mortality
   Effect of coyote control on fawn survival rates
   Habitat limitations
   Competition with elk
   Fawn and adult survival rates
   Highway mortality estimates
     What causes fawn mortality and
     how effective is coyote control?
 We are currently working with BYU and USU to design a study
  investigate fawn survival from birth to 6 months.
 This study will also look at cause specific mortality for fawns
 We also want to estimate coyote density and study the effect
  that coyote control has on fawn survival rates
   How will this information help
    increase deer populations?
 Once we know what is killing fawns, we can take
  measures to minimize that mortality
 If coyote control is not currently effective, we can
  improve our methods to make it more effective
              Is habitat limiting?
 Utah Range Trend Studies have documented a steady
  decline in the quality of mule deer habitat
 We currently have no research looking at how habitat
  quality and quantity limits population growth
 Recent studies in Colorado and Idaho have shown that
  habitat quality and quantity is the main factor limiting
  population growth
      Are elk competing with deer?
 Few studies looking specifically at deer elk competition
    Although there is certainly some dietary overlap, none
     have irrefutable evidence that elk and deer directly
     compete for resources
 There may be some indirect effects that are extremely
  difficult to tease out
 Even if research showed a negative impact of elk on mule
  deer, is it realistic to decrease elk populations?
 What is the annual survival rate of
      adult does and fawns ?
 7 units were chosen statewide to represent surrounding
  units
 Adult does and doe fawns were captured on each unit and
  fitted with radio collars to estimate annual survival
 Initial project cost was $381,000 and will cost $224,000
  annually
 We hope to continue this study as long as we can because it
  provides us the best possible survival data




                                              Ballard et al. 2001
What is the annual survival rate of
     adult does and fawns ?
 Statewide adult survival rate was 88%
   Higher than expected (85%)
 Statewide fawn survival rates were 55%
   Lower than expected (60%)
   How will this information help
    increase deer populations?
 Once we know survival rates in a specific area, we
  can more accurately determine if populations are
  increasing or decreasing
 If certain units have higher than expected
  mortality, we can investigate and try to minimize
  the cause of that mortality
 Over winter mortality can be estimated more
  accurately, this lets us know when winters are
  severe enough to require supplemental feeding
 How many deer are killed on Utah
           highways?
 We currently have a rough estimate of road killed deer from
  road kill pick up
   Picked-up 4,209 carcasses in 2008
   Drastically underestimating the true value
 We do not know the number of deer that are hit and killed
  by vehicles but are not recovered
 We initiated a study through USU to estimate highway
  mortality using road kill collection
 This will be a 3 year study with                         a
  cost of $364,000
USU Highway
Mortality Study
•51 sampling location
•3 mile segments
•153 miles highway
•9% of contractor miles
•Sites are selected
 seasonally
How many deer are killed on Utah
          highways?
How many deer are killed on Utah
          highways?
•Preliminary data from July 1st to September 30th
•Contractors have recovered 12.5% of tagged carcasses
•For every deer collected by contractors, 7 more are
being killed
How many deer are killed on Utah
          highways?
How many deer are killed on Utah
          highways?
                   16
                   14
  Number of Deer



                   12
                   10
                    8
                    6
                    4
                    2
                    0
                        2   3   4       5      6   7   8

                                    Age in Years
How many deer are killed on Utah
          highways?
  •In December 2010, we will GPS collar 31 adult
  female deer ( >2 years)
  How many deer are killed on Utah
            highways?
 GPS collars will last 1.5 years (Dec 2010 to May 2012)
 Survival and movements
 Frequency of road crossings
 Proximity to roads
 Home range positioning
 Use of wildlife crossings
 Movement near wildlife
  fencing
 How will this information help us
   increase deer populations?
 Knowing the number of deer killed on the highways
  will help us convince UDOT that crossing structures
  are needed
 The GPS data will help us determine how deer interact
  with the fences and crossings
 This information will help us improve crossing design
  and location
        DWR Research Summary
 The DWR is proactively conducting research needed
  to find out what is limiting mule deer populations
 The DWR will spend $1.4 million in the next 4 years on
  mule deer research
 The DWR is looking at spending an additional
  $500,000 to fund the fawn cause specific mortality and
  coyote control effect study
 This research will help focus our efforts in the areas
  where they are needed most
Thank you

								
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