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Monday, January 25 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Dispersal of Yearling Male White-Tailed Deer In Wisconsin

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AUTHORS: Brittany Peterson*, UW-Madison; Dan Storm, WI Dept of Natural Resources; Tim Van Deelen, UW-Madison

ABSTRACT: Dispersal facilitates and influences many ecological processes, such as disease spread, range expansion, population dynamics, and gene flow. For intensively managed wildlife populations, like Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, understanding dispersal behavior is important for effective management. Our research occurred during 2011-2014 on 2 study areas representing the northern (forested) and eastcentral (farmland) regions of Wisconsin. We selected these areas because of contrasting ecological contexts: highly fragmented private land with milder winters versus heavily forested public land with more severe winters. Our goal was to better understand factors that influence variation in dispersal behavior and how they relate to deer management. We evaluated weekly locations from radio-collared yearling males to assess dispersal. Preliminary dispersal rates for the farmland study area (n=176) consistently fell around 55%; however, dispersal rates in the northern site (n=137) revealed high annual variation (28-60%). Influence of individual quality, landscape context, and winter severity on dispersal probability, distance, and direction is underway. We will also quantify the statistical distribution of dispersal distance and direction. Better information regarding the factors shaping variation in dispersal rates, distances, and direction would improve metapopulation maintenance and enable biologists and property managers to make informed decisions about management goals.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Vandenberg A