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Changing landscapes for white-tailed deer management in the 21st century: Parcelization of land ownership and evolving stakeholder values in Michigan

Authors

  • Henry Campa III,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
    • Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA.
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  • Shawn J. Riley,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
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  • Scott R. Winterstein,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
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  • Tim L. Hiller,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Division, 3406 Cherry Avenue NE, Salem, OR 97305, USA
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  • Stacy A. Lischka,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins Service Center, 317 W Prospect, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
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  • Jordan P. Burroughs

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Nielsen

Abstract

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) create positive and negative effects incurred by stakeholders throughout the midwestern United States. Knowledge of deer ecology and stakeholder values for deer are needed to match the level of acceptable impacts with the capabilities of management. To address this challenge, we 1) quantified how landscape characteristics in southwestern and south-central Michigan, USA affect the distribution and population characteristics of deer throughout agro-forested landscapes, 2) quantified factors affecting stakeholder acceptance capacity for deer, and 3) present a deer management framework based on desired levels of impacts in relation to existing conditions. We investigated ecological components by radiocollaring deer during 2001–2006 and analyzed their movements, survival, and mortality factors in landscapes with diverse land-ownerships. Sociological components were investigated through interviews and questionnaires sent to 3,520 households. Southern Michigan residents identified a visible deer herd (a perceptual cue to the naturalness of the area) as a positive impact. Concerns about deer, especially deer–vehicle collisions, were weighed against positive impacts in determining acceptable levels of deer–human interactions. Nonhunting, nonfarming rural residents, a stakeholder of increasing size and influence, perceived impacts distinct from those perceived by hunters and farmers. Small annual home ranges of yearlings–adults (77–202 ha) and fawns (60–116 ha) and high survival rates (yearling–adult = 0.40–0.94, fawns = 0.51–0.76) may be attributed to the parcelization of land, habitat quality, and positive values stakeholders hold for deer. Knowledge of the impacts perceived and the effect of impacts on acceptance capacity for deer may enable managers to develop management actions that complement existing programs and address stakeholder values. Knowledge of deer ecology, landscape characteristics, and responses of stakeholders to deer are critical for managing the impacts of white-tailed deer. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

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