In 2006 and 2007 Environmental Solutions Group, LLC (ESG) conducted landscape level surveys of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) winter range to test new field methods for assessing degree of browse utilization, browse species condition, and large animal distribution patterns. In 2007, a site was surveyed on Big Sheep Mountain in the Cherry Creek mule deer census area north of Terry in eastern Montana, covering approximately 6,400 ac (2,590 ha). Methodology followed Frisina and Knapp (2006). Data were collected along foot travel routes in a quarter mile pattern to cover the study area, totaling approximately 54 mi (86 km) of route at each site. Each data point represents a route segment up to 0.25 mi (0.4 km) long having a single type of vegetation. Data were collected for canopy cover and utilization level by individual browse species, canopy cover of other major individual plant species, amount of bare ground, and frequency of fecal pellet group observed for each ungulate species. Potential users of this methodology may now assess whether it offers useful and cost-effective application for their purposes.
Thompson, William H.; Hansen, Paul L.; and Frisina, Michael R.
"Landscape Level Habitat Survey of Mule Deer Winter Range in Eastern Montana,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 16, Article 28.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol16/iss1/28