Habitat Usage of White-Tailed Deer
I am investigating white-tailed deer habitat use during the late winter to spring transition. I have selected two areas that are used by white-tailed deer in the Westfield, MA area. My objective is to determine how they use habitats in each area. Both areas are forested and bordered by residential development and agriculture. I will walk transects along a water source counting how many pellet groups there are and the distance they are from the water. My preliminary results indicate deer tended to defecate <10 meters away from the water. I have found more pellet groups <60 meters away from the water rather than closer. The deer seemed to favor the flat ground as indexed by defecation locations as ~80% of the pellet groups found in the first study area were on a slope that was <6%. The terrain in the second area is much rougher and varied at various locations ranging from ~5% slope to ~25% slope. Although the terrain is very different I still ended up finding similar results to the first area. More pellet groups were found in the areas that were ~5% slope.