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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

1992

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Jonathan A. Jenks

Abstract

Habitat selection patterns of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus dacotensis) in the northern Black Hills were evaluated at the macro- and micro-habitat level of resolution during winter (January - April) and spring (May - June) 1990 and 1991. During winter, deer selected agricultural lands and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests that contained > 70% overstory canopy cover. Closed stands of both mature and immature pine also were selected, indicating that canopy cover influenced selection in those habitats in winter. Spruce (Picea glauca), aspen/beaked hazel/spiraea (Populus tremuloides/Corylus cornuta/Spiraea betulifolia), and pine/aspen habitats were avoided in winter. During spring, deer selected agricultural lands and aspen/beaked hazel/spiraea habitat, while all pine habitats were avoided or used in proportions equal to their availability. Selection of both mature and immature aspen habitat in spring indicated that different age classes of aspen could be important to deer. Fourteen micro-habitat variables were measured in 500-m2 plots for 869 deer locations and 421 random sites. Seasonal differences occurred between deer locations and random sites, and between deer feeding and loafing sites for overstory canopy cover, density of tall shrubs < 12.7 cm dbh, tree basal area, ground cover of grass-forb and shrubs < lm in height, distance (m) and diameter (cm dbh) of the nearest tree, and topographic variables. During winter, coniferous canopy cover, tree basal area, and grass-forb cover were important variables separating deer locations from random sites. Distance to the nearest tree and coniferous canopy cover were the most important variables separating deer feeding sites from deer loafing sites in winter. During spring, tree basal area, density of tall shrubs < 12.7 cm dbh, and grass-forb cover were important variables separating deer locations from random sites. Density of tall shrubs < 12. 7 cm dbh was the most important variable separating deer feeding sites from deer loafing sites in spring. Forest management activities that benefit whitetailed deer include managing ponderosa pine that occurs adjacent to agricultural land so as to provide cover for wintering deer. Peak use of aspen habitat during spring (May - June) could indicate that aspen habitats provide important fawning habitat for deer in the northern Black Hills.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

White-tailed deer -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.) -- Habitat
White-tailed deer -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.) -- Seasonal Distribution

Description

Includes bibliographical references (page 55-65)

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

75

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 1992 John F. Kennedy. All rights reserved.

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