Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


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In fall, 1990 we became involved in a National Pesticide Clearance Inter-regional Research Program (NPCIRP) project to test the efficacy of zinc phosphide in controlling vole (Microtus spp.) damage in sugar beets in Western Nebraska. During the course of the project we observed some rather remark-able short-term movements by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). Although mice have the physical capability of moving up to 300 m in 1 hr (Rawson 1964), typical observed-range lengths are much less. Farming practices that affect food availability and cover likely affect small mammal movements (Warburton and Klimstra 1984, Vessey 1987). Average daily movements of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in agricultural fields ranged from 13.2 m (no-till corn stubble) to 36.9 m (chisel-plowed corn stubble) (Albers et al. 1990). Linduska (1942) noted that deer mice with adequate food and cover in shocked corn fields had minimal movements, while those in adjacent wheat stubble dis-played "exceptional" movements of 60 to 90 m from nest sites in a single night. In this paper we will report on the short-term movements of deer mice that we observed and will speculate on factors that may have caused such movements.