Habitat use, herd ecology, and seasonal movements of mule deer in the Texas Panhandle

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Title: Habitat use, herd ecology, and seasonal movements of mule deer in the Texas Panhandle
Author: Koerth, Benjamin Henry
Abstract: In Texas , mule deer occur in the Trans -Pecos and parts of the Panhandle . However , published information concerning habitat use and productivity of Texas mule deer herds has been limited to the Trans -Pecos area . This study was conducted : Cl ) to determine macro -habitat preferences of mule deer ; C2 ) to determine the extent of micro -habitat selection within the larger macro -habitat and which factors might account for this selection ; C3 ) . to estimate productivity population structure , and density of selected deer herds ; and , (4 ) to estimate seasonal and annual home ranges for Panhandle mule deer . Study areas were selected along the Canadian River in Oldham County , representing deer habitat from the western portion of the Panhandle , and near Clarendon in Donley County , representing deer habitat from the eastern portion of the Texas Panhandle . Further , the Clarendon area had habitat supplement for deer in the form of winter wheat on cultivated fields and the Canadian River area did not . Juniper Breaks was the only vegetation type preferred by deer on the Canadian River area . Important vegetation types varied by season at Clarendon . Vegetation types containing the most screening cover received more deer use , with the exception of cultivated fields . These fields were important to deer during fall and winter when native forage was limited . Deer generally favored north and east aspects with close cover screens , steep slopes , and minimal human and livestock activity . Distance to water was also an important factor in habitat selection by deer . Deer did not appear to select for the most diverse plant communities . Average herd size for mule deer on the Canadian River was 2 .9 animals compared to 3 .9 animals for the Clarendon area . Larger herd sizes for the Clarendon area were primarily due to deer congregating on cultivated fields during fall and winter . Buck :doe and doe :fawn ratios were low compared to other mule deer herds in the West and Southwest indicating low recruitment into the population . Home range size of adult does on the Clarendon area was larger than for does on the Canadian River area , probably because of seasonal movements to and from cultivated fields . Bucks occupied a larger home range than does for either area . Also bucks engaged in rutting season travels for nearly 3 months , some of which involved movements of several miles .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /19777
Date: 1981-05

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Habitat use, herd ecology, and seasonal movements of mule deer in the Texas Panhandle. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /19777 .

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