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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alpine mule deer

I photographed a radio-collared deer at our ponds here in Alpine.

The only clues I found for the source of the radio collar was a study done in the area by a Sul Ross student in 2009. Here is something I copied from a website.

Demographics and spatial characteristics of an urban mule deer population in Alpine, Texas
by Ferris, Daniel A., M.S., SUL ROSS STATE UNIVERSITY, 2009, 47 pages; 1471473
As landscapes become increasingly fragmented by human populations, deer (Odocoileusspp.) have adapted by changing the manner in which they utilize these newly created habitats (Vogel, 1989). To better understand demographics and spatial characteristics of an urban mule deer herd in Alpine, Texas, I captured and radio-collared 21 desert mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) does during the winters of 2007-08 in or near the city. Deer were radio located ≥6 times per month. Recruitment and mortality were estimated. Loafing, feeding, and fawning areas were determined from the radioed sample as well. Fawn production was monitored through walk-in observations of collared deer during August and September. Recruitment was also monitored using January fawn counts. Finite annual survival for 21 mule deer does captured and tracked during the 21-month study was 0.80. Mortalities were from vehicle collision (n = 1) and from unknown causes (n = 5). Annual home range sizes of 10 mature does (>2.5 year old) ranged from 313.63 to 1,104.79 ha (= 615.74, SE = 283.6). Eight of 11 does gave birth to fawns during 2007 while 9 of 11 gave birth in 2008. Six does had twins and 11 does had singletons. Fawning areas were predominantly located on gravelly hill (n = 12) and draw sites (n = 4). Habitat selection was determined with point-study area and range-study area selection to determine important habitats. Habitats most utilized by urban mule deer were gravelly hillsides, parks, and urban draws. Management practices should take into consideration which habitats deer tend to prefer and future construction in these areas should be avoided, when possible, if wildlife/human conflicts are to be minimized.

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