Landscape and patch scale habitat use by migratory black-tailed deer in the Klickitat Basin of Washington
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I studied habitat use of Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in the Klickitat Basin of Washington. The habitat mosaic for Klickitat deer consisted of large tracts managed independently by the Yakama Indian Nation, the State of Washington, and two corporate forest-owners. Selection of habitats at the landscape and patch scale was investigated using radiocollared deer. During winter, deer preferred habitats with an overstory dominated or codominated by Oregon white oak (Quercus garryanna) at both scales of selection. Also during winter, deer selected home ranges with less mixed conifer cover type than available in the background mosaic, but showed some preference for mixed conifer patches within home ranges. Deer occupying mid-elevation home ranges on the Yakama Reservation preferred mature/old-growth and younger, closed-canopy conifer stands at both selection scales during summer. Mid-elevation deer on corporate forestland summer range preferred mature/old-growth stands and open-canopy conifer stands at the landscape scale and the same two habitat classes in reverse order at the patch scale. During summer, deer with high elevation home ranges used habitats in relative proportion to their availability at both selection scales. Habitat conservation for Klickitat deer is complicated by a mixed-ownership mosaic and diverse management approaches. Private land habitat values are important during summer and winter, and conservation may require extensive coordination between public and private resource managers and incentives for private landowners. Conservation of oak-dominated habitat on winter range and mature and old-growth habitat on summer range should be a priority for Klickitat deer managers
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