Ecology and behavior of bison in the Henry Mountains, Utah Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zw12z940s

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  • Aspects of bison ecology and behavior were studied in the Henry Mountains, Utah during summer 1977 and summer 1978. Foraging distributions of bison and of cattle were compared to elevation, slope, horizontal distance from water, vertical distance from water, aspect, and availability of preferred forage. The effect of bison-cattle interactions on distribution of the 2 species was evaluated. Patterns in geographical and altitudinal distribution of the bison herd during summer were described. The sizes of bison cow groups were determined and compared to habitat structure. The stability of bison cow groups was evaluated. Distribution of foraging bison was positively related to availability of preferred forage. Distribution of foraging cattle was negatively related to slope and vertical distance from water, but was not related to availability of preferred forage. Slope and vertical distance from water showed little or no relationship to bison distribution. Elevation, horizontal distance from water, and aspect showed little or no relationship to distribution of either species. Geographical and altitudinal distribution of bison was characterized by both similarities and differences between summer 1977 and summer 1979. Differences possibly were because of decreased forage production during a drought in 1977. Bison cow groups typically totalled 15 animals. Group size was closely related to habitat structure; larger groups were found in more open habitats. Bison cow groups possessed little stability, and changed composition frequently. Groups that persisted did so in part through a lack of contact with other bison. Stable subgroups, if they existed at all, comprised only a few animals.
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