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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Influences of habitat interspersion on habitat use by Columbian black-tailed deer Kremsater, Laurie Lynn


Use of forage, cover, and border habitat by Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columblanus (Richardson)) was examined at two levels of selection: within home ranges and during home range establishment. Patterns of habitat use were evaluated in relation to changing seasons, different migratory behaviours, and areas of intensive deer use (defined by concentrations of radio locations). Relative use did not differ from relative availability for forage, cover, and border habitats. Availability of those habitats, however, changed seasonally as deer home ranges changed or different intensities of deer use were examined. Cover and border habitats, particularly borders between old-growth and second-growth forests, were more available in winter than, in summer home ranges. Areas receiving intensive deer use were characterized by more border and cover habitat than areas of less intensive use. Because use was directly proportional to availability, changing availability suggested that habitat selection occurred as home ranges were established. Comparisons of forage, cover, and border composition in actual home ranges and areas where home ranges potentially could have been located suggested preference for cover and border habitats. These comparisons, however, did not indicate disproportionately high use of interspersed habitats, perhaps because of the high degree of habitat interspersion in the study area.

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