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dc.contributor.authorFritz, Jordan
dc.contributor.authorEhrensbeck, Ethan
dc.contributor.authorBaran, Mark
dc.contributor.authorGarneau, Danielle
dc.contributor.authorLesser, Mark
dc.description.abstract"Forest communities vary due to patch dynamics resulting from differing successional trajectories following disturbances. The habitat mosaic left behind in the wake of disturbances both biotic (e.g., beaver, forest pests and pathogens) and abiotic (e.g., wildfire, wind, ice storm) can have profound effects on forest structure and composition. These stand-level differences in community composition and age structure can alter browse quantity and quality and limit white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) abundance on a seasonal basis. In fall 2023, we performed a deer pellet count survey to estimate deer density differences across three different forest types 1) recently burned jack pine (Pinus banksiana)-dominated barrens (2018 wildfire), 2) unburned (1957 wildfire since regenerated barrens), and 3) a hardwood forest at the Flat Rock sandstone pavement barrens in Altona, NY. We predicted the highest deer densities would be in the hardwood forest due to the diversity in overstory species and availability of hardwood mast. Concurrent long-term wildlife monitoring surveys across habitats within the Flat Rock offered game camera access in order to compare estimates of techniques in each of the three forest types. Game cameras added behavioral observations of deer diel activity, demographics (e.g., age structure, gender), and abiotic conditions such as temperature and moonphase to our study. Pellet count estimates of deer densities in the hardwood and recently burned stands were 15.88 and 4.76 deer/mi2, respectively. Deer pellets were not detected in the unburned barrens. Game cameras detected three and six times more deer in the hardwood as compared to the burn and unburned stands, providing support for use of pellet count surveys. Behavioral patterns were similar across sites with travel and vigilance being observed more often than browsing. White-tailed deer behavior is largely diurnal at all sites, with additional activity mid-day in the burn, at 6AM and 7PM at the unburn, and 2AM in the hardwood stands. Age structure differed across sites with the unburn having all adult deer and gender ratios of 9.6 and 11:1 adults to juveniles in the burn and hardwood stands, respectively. Average group size was similar across sites ranging from solitary deer in the unburn to average groups of 1.35 and 1.4 deer at the hardwood and burn sites, respectively. Our general habitat-specific deer density estimates were similar for both non-invasive techniques, which provides wildlife managers options that are more cost-effective and less time intensive for surveys across a large study area. White-tailed deer hunting is a major source of revenue in Upstate New York and any efforts to make hunters more efficient at harvest by offering target habitats and times of day are helpful given the lack of top predators available to regulate this abundant resource."en_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.subjectwhite-tailed deeren_US
dc.subjectpellet countsen_US
dc.subjectgame cameraen_US
dc.subjectFlat Rocken_US
dc.subjecthardwood foresten_US
dc.title"Deer in the Duff: Does Habitat Impact Deer Activity Patterns? "en_US
dc.typeCapstone Projecten_US
dc.description.institutionSUNY Plattsburghen_US
dc.description.departmentCenter for Earth and Environmental Scienceen_US
dc.description.degreelevelN/Aen_US 2023en_US

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