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Title:White-tailed deer hunting and habitat use in Robert Allerton Park
Author(s):Thompson, Noelle E
Advisor(s):Novakofski, Jan E; Mateus-Pinilla, Nohra E
Contributor(s):Green, Michelle L; O'Hara Ruiz, Marilyn
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):White-tailed deer
Hunting
Habitat Use
Spatial Clustering
Deer Removal
Culling
Abstract:Using Robert Allerton Park (RAP) and the immediately surrounding properties in east-central Illinois as a study site, my objectives were to investigate changes in deer habitat use and spatial clustering following 10 years of deer removal in RAP. I evaluated changes in annual deer counts within RAP’s three main habitat types, dry mesic upland forest, wet mesic floodplain forest and developed land using a generalized linear mixed model. Annual counts were categorized into two periods: no deer removal (1988-2004) and deer removal (2005-2015). Second, I used Moran’s I spatial autocorrelation measures to evaluate annual changes in deer clustering. To evaluate changes in spatial clustering as a result of deer removal, I used Getis-Ord General Gi* hot spot analysis to compare spatial clustering between periods of no removal and removal. As expected, my results indicate that the number of deer removed annually decreased deer count in RAP. When analyzed by period, deer removal affected deer count, however, this impact varied between habitat types. Wet mesic floodplain forest and developed areas experienced insignificant reductions in deer count between periods whereas dry mesic upland forested habitats experienced significant reductions. Moreover, I detected an increasing trend in annual deer clustering across the study area prior to deer removal. Once the removal program was implemented, I observed a decrease in deer clustering across years. Changes were evident in both cluster location and size across the study site between periods. In conclusion, more deer were observed in wet mesic floodplain forest and developed land following removal which could be explained by the deer removal program, preferential habitat selection, temporal changes in understory quality or a combination of these factors.
Issue Date:2017-04-28
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/97642
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Noelle Thompson
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05


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