Date of Award:

1979

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Wildlife Science

Advisor/Chair:

Michael L. Wolfe

Abstract

A mathematical description of Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) habitat was developed and subjected to validation testing using correlation and multiple regression statistical techniques. Data were collected on a central Utah study area, which was divided into mountain and desert regions.

Data on deer utilization and several habitat components from 86 study plots visited in 1976 were used to develop a habitat rule. Data from 46 study plots visited in 1977 were used to test the accuracy of the rule. Deer utilization was determined from pellet group counts on 20 0.001 ha pellet plots at each study plot.

The regression model accounted for 53 and 43 percent of the respective variation in pellet group density in mountain and desert habitats observed in 1976. However, the same model explained only 8 and 0.02 percent, respectively, of the observed variation in the 1977 validation test data.

Reliability and applicability of statistical habitat models and importance of validation of results are discussed.

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