Roosevelt elk habitat use in the Oregon Coast Range Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/d504rp18p

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  • Daily and seasonal habitat use by Roosevelt elk was investigated in the Oregon Coast Range on managed, public forestland. Over 3,700 locations of 6 radio-collared cow elk were recorded during 12 consecutive months. Two elk formed part of a north band and 4 elk were part of a south band. Home ranges for elk bands were mutually exclusive and enclosed areas of 400 ha or less each season. Heavily used central cores of activity comprised a small portion of the total home range. Seasonal home ranges of a given band overlapped substantially and were largest in calving and summer seasons. Cow elk of a given band were most often associated with one another during spring, rut and winter seasons and were otherwise more dispersed. Elk exhibited preferences for old-growth forest and hardwood stands over mixed forest and dense, young conifer stands. Brushy clearcuts were utilized more than new clearcuts for foraging. Use of new clearcuts increased in winter. Elk preferred southerly aspects throughout the year, avoided roads (especially paved roads), and did not venture far from forest/clearcut edges. During calving season, cow elk spent more time in cover and utilized areas that were characteristically of lower elevation, gentler slope, greater seclusion and were closer to water than the rest of the year. Elk appeared unaffected by weather during the mild winter of the study and sought out cover during warmer periods of the day during all seasons. A consistent daily pattern of habitat use was for elk to forage on brushy clearcuts during early and late daylight hours and to retreat to an old-growth stand to bed and/or loaf through the midday period The pattern of several hours of activity followed by several of inactivity appeared to extend through the night, although elk were less active at night. Cover use, especially of dense, young, second-growth stands, increased and movement decreased during the hunting season. Despite variability in seasonal and individual elk habitat use, discriminant analyses suggested that cover types, adjacent cover types and aspects were the most promising of the parameters measured for the prediction of habitat use patterns of Roosevelt elk. Recommendations are proposed for the effective integration of management for elk and other forest resources.
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