Completed Project: Linking Resource Selection to Population Dynamics of Mule Deer in Idaho

Project Objectives

Student moving a fawnThe broad goal of the project was to answer the question of “how does forage quality, predation risk and weather interact to determine habitat quality and subsequently how is habitat quality modified by mule deer behavior and local density to influence vital rates and population size? We will answer this question by investigating the interactive influence of weather patterns, resource selection, and predation risk on mule deer survival and population growth rate. Measures of population growth and fecundity will be integrated with fine-scale resource selection and predator-caused mortality to estimate population dynamics and rank habitat components vegetation type and quality, weather, density and predation) by their importance to population growth rate. These models will then enable wildlife managers to combine population data collected within climate and broad vegetation biomes with fine-scale habitat models to predict the potential mule deer population productivity in different habitats, weather patterns, and management regimes.

Lead Researchers:

Mark Hurley, PhD Student and IDFG Mule Deer Research Biologist

Collaborators:

Jean-Michel Gaillard, University of Lyon, Fance

Funders:

Idaho Department of Fish and Game