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Resource selection by white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk in Nebraska

David M Baasch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Management of cervids in Nebraska is a growing concern due to population eruptions and declines, potential for inter-specific transmission of disease, and habitat depredation. We used resource selection functions to relate cervids to resources and develop locally adaptive plans for managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), mule deer (O. hemionus ), and elk (Cervus elaphus) in Nebraska. We use simulation techniques to determine if discrete-choice, logistic-regression, and MAXENT-modeling could recover a known probability distribution. We evaluated influence of numbers of use and random locations and levels of selection and availability used in analyses of resource selection. Discrete-choice modeling consistently provided precise and accurate estimates of the known probability distribution when appropriate levels of selection and availability were chosen. Based on our results, we used discrete-choice modeling to assess influence of landscape characteristics on resource selection by white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk in Nebraska. Selection of resources by white-tailed deer at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge changed in response to conversions of cropland to grasslands. The conversion had the largest impact on cropland and wooded areas on the refuge. However, we could not consistently predict impacts of converting 5% of landcover from cropland to grassland, which indicated changes in selection of resources by white-tailed deer was nonlinear. White-tailed deer and mule deer in Morrill County selected agricultural crops juxtaposed with wooded cover, but mule deer selected resources at lower specificity. We determined >30% of landcover in Morrill County was selected by white-tailed deer and mule deer indicating an overlap in space-use. Selection of resources by female elk in the Pine Ridge was influenced by slope, aspect, and distance to road and forest edge. We used results to identify a potential elk redistribution area within the Pine Ridge to help managers minimize depredation complaints by landowners. My dissertation is an important contribution to resource selection modeling and cervid ecology in Nebraska. Our results will be used to direct management decisions and develop models for predicting the spread of infectious diseases. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Biostatistics|Biology, Ecology|Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Baasch, David M, "Resource selection by white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk in Nebraska" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3315313.