Past research has documented livestock grazing patterns and dynamics across pastoral landscapes. We used spatial locations of domestic range sheep (Ovis aries) obtained from Global Positioning System collars to study habitat selection on summer mountain habitat North of Scofield Reservoir Utah, United States. Data were collected between the months of July to September 2020. We developed a resource selection function to determine the influence of slope, distance to water, aspect, ruggedness, elevation, and vegetation types on habitat selection by sheep while grazing on summer mountain habitat. We found sheep selected for sites closer to water, with more gentle terrain, higher in elevation, and north-facing slopes. Vegetation types were less predictive, ostensibly due to the lack of species composition information in available geographic information system layers and the possibility of sheep being herded to avoid areas of overuse. Although it is often assumed that sheep use slopes more than their heavier and larger cattle counterparts, overall they tended to avoid steep slopes compared with all other predictor variables. This information on selection for higher elevations and avoidance of steep slopes can be used to improve livestock management practices including flock management that increases sheep foraging patterns and energy efficiency.
summer grazing habitat