Seasonal movements and distribution of migratory Roosevelt elk in the Olympic Mountains, Washington Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/tt44pr658

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  • Seasonal movements, home ranges, core areas and habitat use patterns of hunted, migratory Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) were investigated on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Radio telemetry was used to obtain more than 3,100 locations of 9 elk from May 1984 - March 1985, and November - December, 1985. Radio-collared elk were in 2 herds that migrated approximately 32 km, and 1500 m in elevation, between winter ranges at sea level to summer ranges at timberline. Migratory routes primarily were in riparian areas on narrow valley floors. Home ranges were largest during late autumn ([x-bar] = 43.1 square km) and smallest during summer ([x-bar] = 5.9 square km). Minimum daily movements of elk followed a similar seasonal pattern and were largest during late autumn ([x-bar] = 1119 m) and smallest during summer ([x-bar] = 602 m). Core areas in summer and rutting seasons occurred in subalpine parklands among precipitous, rocky ridges. Core areas during winter and calving seasons were primarily on the valley floors and lower portions of valley walls, areas that also have the greatest degree of human development. Elk used areas less than 300 m from residences and paved roads in winter core areas primarily at night. In addition, distances of elk from paved roads and residences were significantly greater during day-time hours, which was also the period with the greatest amount of motor vehicle traffic. In summer and rutting seasons, elk selected subalpine parkland habitats, and used coniferous forests in proportions less than expected on the basis of availability. In winter, deciduous and deciduous/coniferous forests were used in greater proportions than expected, whereas coniferous forests ( < 150 yr) were used less than expected. Most elk selected slopes less than 24 percent during the summer, rutting and winter seasons.
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