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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Jonathan A Jenks


Seasonal landscape habitat use by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus dacotensis) in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming (USA) was evaluated using the geographic information system (GIS) software, PC ARC/INFO. Summer and winter habitat use was determined by plotting point observations and home ranges of telemetered deer on digital land-use maps. Percentages of habitat types within the study area, deer home ranges, and random home ranges were compared to determine selection of habitat components. Components evaluated include slope, aspect, elevation, cover type, canopy cover, basal area, tree diameter, tree volume, regrowth stem count and height, and presence of grass, forb, and shrub species. Comparisons of percent habitat composition did not detect differences (P ≥ 0.10) between home range 95% and 50% use contours, or between deer home ranges and randomly derived home ranges, with one exception. In winter, elevation was the only variable that differed (P < 0. 10) between deer and random home ranges. However, comparison of deer point observations and random points, showed significant differences (P < 0. 10) in habitat use versus availability. Point analyses supported habitat management practices that augment forage production proximate to adequate fawning, escape, and thermal cover. GIS can aid in management of natural resources, but maps and databases must have adequate detail to answer management questions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

White-tailed deer -- Habitat -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
White-tailed deer -- Wintering -- Black Hills (S.D.and Wyo.)
White-tailed deer -- Summering -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Geographic information systems


Includes bibliographical references (page 123-131)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1995 Brytten Elizabeth Nelson. All rights reserved.