Graduation Year

2016

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Wildlife Biology

Major

Wildlife Biology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mark Hebblewhite

Keywords

mule deer, fence, barrier, white-tailed deer, ungulates

Subject Categories

Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

There have been recent efforts to enhance ungulate movement through modified fencing structures. Ungulates such as mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) typically negotiate fences by either jumping over fencing or going under. Here we examine crossing success and crossing decisions of mule deer and white-tailed deer and determine factors that influence crossing success and the impending decision to jump over or crawl underneath fencing. Using a BACI (Before-After-Control-Impact) design, we deployed remote cameras along fence lines in three study areas; Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield and OneFour research center in Southeastern Alberta, Canada, and The Nature Conservancy’s Matador Ranch in North-central Montana. We used logistic regression to model the probability of deer successfully crossing a fence and of deer crossing under a fence versus jumping over it based on important fence and environmental characteristics. We collected 499 crossing attempts with 326 successful crosses. We found that crossing success was influenced by sex, season, snow presence, number of attempts, site types and bottom wire heights. We found that crossing decision, in contrast, was influenced by species, sex, season, and bottom and top wire heights.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

 

© Copyright 2016 Emily N. Burkholder