The University of Arizona

Agricultural land use patterns of native ungulates in south-eastern Montana.

J.P. Selting, L.R. Irby

Abstract


Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (Odocolieus virginianus), and pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) use of 6 agricultural land use categories in southeastern Montana were monitored to identify use patterns at specific sites. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), bottom rangeland, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands, upland rangeland, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) stubble, and growing wheat were observed during dawn, day, dusk, and night hours over a period of 12 months. Mule deer densities on alfalfa peaked in fall and again in spring. The CRP lands were selected in all seasons. Rangeland sites were most heavily used in winter and summer. White-tailed deer used CRP lands in all seasons except fall. Alfalfa was selected in fall, spring, and summer. Antelope densities on alfalfa were highest in spring and fall, while growing wheat fields were used most in spring. Antelope in the northern study area selected CRP land in all seasons except fall. Densities of animals and patterns of use observed during this study would be unlikely to produce significant impacts on forage or crops at most of our study sites.

Keywords


wild animals;agricultural land;patterns;conservation reserve program lands;habitat selection;population density;Odocoileus virginianus;Antilocapra americana;Odocoileus hemionus;seasonal variation;Montana

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