Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Jessop B. Low
The primary objective of this study on the Coalville Deer Management Unit adjacent to the corner of Wyoming in Utah was to determine the condition of the deer herd in relation to its ranqe and population chatacteristics.
Postseason doe-fawn ratio was 100:77, while an adjusted doe-fawn ratio accounting for the unproductive female yearling segment was 100:105. The approximate net-productivity for 1964 was 44 percent compared to 27 percent in 1965. In 1964-65, the average age-class mortality rate for the male and female segments was 45 and 35 percent respectively. Preseason and postseason sex ratios were 64:100 and 60:100 respectively.
Mature deer were in good condition during the fall harvest. However, a few yearling males and approximately one-third of the fawns (both sexes) were not in good physical condition. Male deer weights, antler points, length of main beam, and antler diameter 1 inch above the burr increased with age. In contrast, female weights increased until they reached 2.5 years of age, with no significant gains thereafter. Antler diameter was considered a good indicator of physical condition.
The summer e1evational distribution of deer coincided with the quaking aspen belt between 7,500 and 9,500 feet. Deer marked with streamers and collars did not substantially increase the summer distribution information above the tag returns. Five to 15 percent more marked deer were shot the first hunt after the tagging operation than in subsequent hunts. The average winter e1evational distribution of the deer was 6,700 feet, although the depth of snow and other climatic variables changed each winter's elevational distribution.
Deer management in Unit 19 should be closely geared to deer winter concentration areas. Deer hunting regulations should be based on the winter range condition of the majority of the winter range concentration areas. Those winter range concentration areas in need of further deer population reduction to balance deer numbers with the winter range food supply should have postseason hunts after the fall migration.
Tag returns from the hunting season did not indicate differential movement of sex and age classes of deer from winter concentration areas to the summer ranges. The majority of the marked deer summered in the same major drainage where tagged, although fall returns were received from five major drainages. A few deer migrated 60 airline miles from their winter to summer ranges, but the majority migrated less than 15 miles from the tagging site. The mechanism triggering fall migration was snow depth, while new vegetation controlled the spring upward movement. All deer that wintered on the same range did not summer together.
In 1926, $0.25 range-use permits were required of deer hunters, while in 1965 the Range Owner's Protective Association (ROPA) assessed a $3.00 fee.
Hickman, Gary L., "The Coalville Deer Herd in Northeastern Utah: Its Ecology and Management" (1971). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1572.
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