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Applying Landscape-Scale Habitat-Potential Models to Understand Deer Spatial Structure and Movement Patterns

Alexandra B. Felix, Daniel P. Walsh, Brandi D. Hughey, Henry Campa, III and Scott R. Winterstein
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 71, No. 3 (May, 2007), pp. 804-810
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4495256
Page Count: 7
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Applying Landscape-Scale Habitat-Potential Models to Understand Deer Spatial Structure and Movement Patterns
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Abstract

Ecologically based management must incorporate components that consider how individuals associate temporally and spatially to environments that provide specific habitat requirements. Recent research has assessed how environments could be classified based on potential to provide deer (Odocoileus virginianus) habitat components. If habitat potential (HP; i.e., capability of habitat types to provide annual life requisites) classifications can be correlated to deer spatial structure and seasonal movement patterns, managers could better understand how spatial distribution of habitat components influences deer distribution. We analyzed home-range distribution and seasonal movement patterns from 45 adult (≥2 yr old) female deer radiocollared between 1999-2002, and deer habitat characteristics in northeastern Lower Peninsula, Michigan, USA, to investigate whether we can predict deer seasonal movement patterns based on the distribution of HP. We constructed logistic regression models that calculated the probability of deer migration given specific HP within seasonal home ranges of migratory and nonmigratory deer. Our results suggested that the probability of seasonal deer migrations relates to the juxtaposition (arrangement) of different habitat types that collectively provide all annual life requisites. We demonstrated that use of habitat-type classifications and HP models can track and predict deer movement patterns, which can facilitate establishment of management units and ecologically based deer management practices.

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