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Rainfall, El Niño, and Dynamics of Mule Deer in the Sonoran Desert, California
Jason P. Marshal, Paul R. Krausman, Vernon C. Bleich, Warren B. Ballard and Jane S. McKeever
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 66, No. 4 (Oct., 2002), pp. 1283-1289
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802961
Page Count: 7
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We used long-term El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO), rainfall, and deer harvest records to investigate effects of ENSO and rainfall on mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) population trends in the Sonoran Desert, south-eastern California, USA. We found significant relationships between the southern oscillation index and rainfall (R2 = 0.38, P ≤ 0.001), and between rainfall and annual deer harvest ((R2 = 0.25, P ≤ 0.001). We also found that deer harvest (i.e., an index of deer abundance) in any year was related to accumulations of rainfall >5 years before that hunting season (R2 = 0.34), whereas the change in harvest between years (i.e., an index of rate of population change) was most related to rainfall the year immediately prior to that hunting season (R2 = 0.15). Fluctuations in deer populations in the deserts of California ultimately may be caused by ENSO events.
The Journal of Wildlife Management © 2002 Wiley