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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:20am - 8:40am
UNGULATES: Annual and Seasonal Home Ranges of Female Elk in Northwestern Minnesota

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AUTHORS. Alicia E. Freeman, Minnesota State University-Mankato; Gino J. D’Angelo, University of Georgia-Athens, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources; Véronique St-Louis, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Louis Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; John D. Krenz, Minnesota State University-Mankato

ABSTRACT. Elk (Cervus elaphus) were successfully reintroduced to Minnesota in the 1930s, after their extirpation in the late 1800s as a result of overharvesting and conversion of the land to agriculture (Hazard 1982). Despite continued management since that time, no studies of elk aimed at understanding patterns of habitat use at multiple scales have been conducted in Minnesota. In February 2016, we placed Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on 20 free-ranging adult female elk in northwestern Minnesota to collect baseline ecological data that can be used for improving elk population management at multiple scales.  We estimated elk home range sizes from elk locations taken every 4 hours across the full first year of data (2016), and estimated the mean annual home range size by averaging the 95% contour of Kernel Density Estimates (KDE) across all collared elk, excluding one elk that died before a full year of data was collected. We also calculated the average home range sizes of elk in each of the 4 sub-groups (Caribou-Vita, Grygla, Lancaster North, Lancaster South) which are spatially segregated across the landscape in northwestern Minnesota. The mean annual home range size of the 19 collared cows from 2016 was 109 km2 (n = 19, SD = 38.7 km2), whereas the mean annual home ranges for the sub-groups ranged from 83 km2 to 153 km2 (n = 4, SD = 29.1). We further divided the first year’s location data into seasons based on time periods we considered to be most important to elk, and created seasonal home ranges that will be used to estimate seasonal and yearly changes in broad- and fine-scale patterns of habitat use across all gps-collared elk. We will present comparisons of home ranges among sub-groups of elk across seasons and habitat types. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:20am - 8:40am

Attendees (3)