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1 June 2007 Winter Resource Selection of Reintroduced Elk and Sympatric White-tailed Deer at Multiple Spatial Scales
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Abstract

Understanding limiting factors and interspecific interactions is fundamental to wildlife management and can be inferred from multiscale patterns of resource selection. We studied winter resource selection and overlap of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and translocated female elk (Cervus elaphus) over 2 winters in central Ontario, Canada. Microhabitat data were collected along 4 organism-centered spatial scales: site, trail, feeding station, and diet. Although winter conditions varied between years, white-tailed deer consistently traveled and fed in habitats with greater coniferous basal area than elk. Neither species demonstrated selection for coniferous basal area or snow depth across scales. At successively finer scales, female elk selected increased understory cover of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). For white-tailed deer, across-scale selection of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) understory cover was exhibited when winter conditions were more severe. Dietary overlap was moderate during both winters (50–57%) and coniferous forage was more important to deer than elk. Using canonical variate analysis, a gradient from shade-intolerant hardwoods to mature coniferous vegetation was found to discriminate significantly between elk and deer habitat use at trails and feeding stations. These results indicate that deer were closely associated with conifers regardless of winter conditions and that both ungulates may have been limited by forage abundance.

Deborah A. Jenkins, James A. Schaefer, Rick Rosatte, Tim Bellhouse, Josef Hamr, and Frank F. Mallory "Winter Resource Selection of Reintroduced Elk and Sympatric White-tailed Deer at Multiple Spatial Scales," Journal of Mammalogy 88(3), 614-624, (1 June 2007). https://doi.org/10.1644/06-MAMM-A-010R1.1
Accepted: 1 October 2006; Published: 1 June 2007
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