Episode 041 - Buck Habitat Selection During Hunting Season
Where do bucks go during hunting season? Does hunting pressure change where bucks spend time? In this episode Bronson, Steve, and former MSU Deer Lab graduate student Colby Henderson, review research findings from a 2-year study where about 50 bucks were marked with GPS-enabled collars and we monitored their movements throughout a hunted landscape over the hunting season. First, what is habitat “selection”? Selection is a measure of how much time an animal spends in a particular vegetation type relative to how much of that vegetation type exists on the landscape. For example, if hardwood forest is only 5% of a property and deer spend 50% of their time there, then selection for hardwood forest would be very high – deer are differentially selecting for hardwood forest relative to the amount available to them on the landscape. We compared not only what vegetation types bucks selected, but also what hunters selected, and how that changed over the hunting season.