CONSERVATION GRANTS PROJECTS
SUPPORTED BY THE BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB
The Conservation Grants Committee looks forward to sharing the progress and results of these studies with Members and Associates of the Boone and Crockett Club. Looking ahead, we see a bright future for the program and for the young professionals whose careers we are trying to encourage.
KELLEY M. STEWART – 2012
Effects of Provision of Water on Populations of Mule Deer in Mojave National Preserve
MARJORIE MATOCQ - 2010-2012
Bighorn sheep disease outbreaks: underlying genetic diversity of declining versus persistent populations
KAREN FOX - 2010-2011
Paranasal sinus tumors of bighorn sheep: investigation of an infectious etiology
DR. DAVID PAETKAU - 2009-2010
Differentiating Coues' whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) from other whitetails
DR. CARLOS ALCALA-GALVAN - 2007-2009
Sample collection from important areas in Northern Mexico for genetic analysis of Coues' whitetail deer and diagnosis of whitetail deer x mule deer hybrids
DR. IRVING KORNFIELD - 2007-2009
Genetic Differentiation of Odocoileus Species
RYAN WALSER - 2006
Public Policy vs. Biology: Evaluating Effects of Season Change on Harvest Characteristics of Mule Deer in West Texas
JAMES HEFFELFINGER - 2004-2006
Defining Practical Units of Conservation and Record Keeping Through Analysis of Genetic Differentiation in Mule and Black-tailed Deer
CHARLES FROST - 2005-2006
Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease in Riparian Areas
TODD ATWOOD - 2004-2005
Conditions Affecting Limiting Factors for Mule Deer in Southwestern Montana
LOUIS HARVESON - 2004
Evaluating Landscape Changes of Mule Deer Habitats in Trans-Pecos,Texas
CECILY M. COSTELLO - 2003
Kinship, population dynamics, and spatial organization of black bears
JOCELYN L. AYCRIGG - 2003
Using the metapopulation concept to understand the spatial and temporal population dynamics of elk in Idaho
JAMES W. CAIN - 2002-2003
Influence of Artificial Water Sources on Desert Bighorn Sheep
KYLE VAN WHY - 2002
Restoration of the Louisiana Black Bear into Suitable Habitats
JESSICA MONTAG - 2002
Evaluating Predator Compensation Programs as a Means of Resolving Social Conflict and Promoting Sociate Tolerance
CHERYL-LESLEY CHETKIEWICZ - 2002
Conservation of Large Carnivores in Fragmented Landscapes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Jacob L. Bowman - 1998
Feasibility of Reintroduction of the Black Bear into Mississippi
Kathryn Reis - 1998
Habitat evaluation and communication strategies to reduce agricultural crop damage by white-tailed deer
Mark F. McClure – 1998
Energy, fractal movement patterns, and scale-dependent Habitat relationships of urban and rural mule deer
Chris J. Johnson & Katherine L. Parker - 1996
Conservation of Woodland Caribou: Habitat Management Considerations at Landscape and Stand Levels in North-Central British Columbia
KELLEY M. STEWART – 2012
Kelley M. Stewart, PhD, received $6,300 from the Boone and Crockett Club for helicopter capture of mule deer in Mojave National Preserve, CA. This project is a long-term study examining the effects of provision of water on habitat use and movement patterns as well as population performance of mule deer in an arid ecosystem. Moreover, this project is a collaborative effort between the University of Nevada Reno, California Department of Fish and Game and the National Park Service. The project has been supported strongly by sportsman’s organizations and other agencies, including the Boone and Crockett Club, Safari Club International Foundation, California Deer Association, Golden Gate Chapter of Safari Club International, and Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Kelley completed her undergraduate degree from University of California Davis in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. She completed a Master’s degree in Wildlife and Range Management at Texas A&M University – Kingsville working on habitat selection by white-tailed deer. Kelley completed a PhD through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working with mule deer and elk on the Starkey Project in Eastern Oregon. She completed a post-doctoral position at Idaho State University working with mule deer and elk and in 2007 accepted a faculty position at the University of Nevada Reno. Kelley’s research focuses on the ecology of large mammals and effects of their population dynamics on community structure and function.
State and federal agencies have used water developments as an integral component of management of wildlife and their habitats since the 1940s, with the expectation that benefits are derived from those habitat improvements. To date, research to test that hypothesis has yielded largely equivocal results. Our study incorporates a multi-year, experimental approach and is based, in-part, on an adequate understanding of problems encountered by previous investigators. The goal of this experiment has been to delineate the ecological effects of water developments on population dynamics of Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) inhabiting a desert ecosystem, and our efforts focus on factors influencing demography, habitat use, and movement patterns of female mule deer in areas where permanent water has been provided to supplement scarce natural supplies.
In March 2012, after receiving support from the Boone and Crockett Club and Safari Club International, we again captured mule deer in Mojave National Preserve, bringing the total number of animals in this investigation to more than 100. Our study focuses on three disparate areas: those in which water sources were provided, a second area in which water availability has been limited, and an unmanipulated area to serve as our control. We used funds from our B&C Conservation Grant to capture and equip each animal with a store-on-board GPS radio collar. Currently, we are examining reproductive status, body condition, and diet composition. We are analyzing those data to determine effects of water availability on diet selection and physical condition of individuals.
Marjorie Matocq, PhD, received $25,902 from the B&C Club and two funding partners, the Camp Fire Fund Inc. and the Pope & Young Club, to study "Bighorn sheep disease outbreaks: underlying genetic diversity of declining versus persistent populations" at the University of Nevada. Marjorie was born in San Francisco to parents who had recently emigrated from France. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. This was followed by a Master's degree in Conservation Biology at San Francisco State University, and PhD in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. She completed a postdoctoral position in the Conservation Genetics Lab at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo, and spent six years as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Genetics at Idaho State University. In 2008 she commenced her current position as Associate Professor of Wildlife Genetics at the University of Nevada. Marjorie's research is broadly focused on identifying processes that contribute to both the generation and maintenance of genetic and morphological diversity in vertebrates. Her work combines traditional field studies with molecular genetic analysis, which allows conservation biologists to gain the most insight possible into the ecology of the populations they seek to conserve.
Bighorn sheep are an icon of the West and central to what big game hunters and all outdoor enthusiasts regard as a healthy and intact ecosystem. Despite the efforts of state wildlife agencies and others to restore bighorn populations to former ranges, many populations continue to experience catastrophic disease-related die offs. The disease process undoubtedly is the result of many interacting factors, but relatively little is known of the role that genetic diversity plays in the overall health and persistence of populations. Growing evidence points to the importance of genetic variation in immune response and other aspects of disease resistance that are critical to bighorn conservation and management.
The study focuses on four populations of bighorn sheep in Utah (Mt. Timpanogos, Rock Canyon, Mt. Nebo, and Antelope Island) that have a particularly well-documented recent history of establishment, augmentation, and disease-related die-off. It is one of the first to investigate the relationship between reintroduction history, genetic diversity, and susceptibility to disease in bighorn sheep. The specific questions are: 1) How genetically distinct are the reintroduced populations given that some share original source populations while others have more distinct histories? 2) What is the genetic profile of populations that are in contact with domestic sheep and persisting, versus in contact with domestic sheep and experiencing die-offs? 3) How does the genetic profile of individuals that succumbed to disease differ from that of individuals that have survived?
The answers are being sought through genetic analysis of field-collected hair and fecal samples, with emphasis on microsatellites linked to genes that play a role in disease resistance. This will be a first step in determining the complex relationship of population history, genetics, and disease in bighorn sheep. The aim is for wildlife managers to use the findings to modify translocation and management strategies in order to improve the success of their bighorn conservation efforts.
Karen Fox, DVM, received $15,000 for research on "Paranasal sinus tumors of bighorn sheep: investigation of an infectious etiology" at Colorado State University. Karen is a veterinarian and PhD graduate student at Colorado State University. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she began her wildlife disease career at Iowa State University where she was extensively involved in the Animal Ecology Department and completed a BS degree in Animal Ecology. While there she also volunteered with the Wildlife Care Clinic, a student-run facility located at the veterinary campus, and participated in pathology work through the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia. Further experiences in working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife in Fort Collins and the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie guided her decision to pursue a veterinary degree with the ultimate goal of becoming a wildlife pathologist. She completed her DVM at Colorado State University in 2007. Now enrolled in a combined veterinary pathology residency and PhD program at CSU, Karen is working toward board certification in anatomic pathology as well as a PhD in pathology. She also works closely with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, performing autopsies on diseased animals of many species to detect diseases and provide mortality data to managers.
Karen's PhD project focuses on a new respiratory disease that causes tumors in the nasal sinuses of bighorn sheep in Colorado. The project investigates the hypothesis that the tumors are caused by a transmissible agent. Experiments are performed on captive bighorn lambs to identify the agents and mechanism for transmission. Study results will have important applications in management; for example, the tumors may be found to have a role in the initiation and persistence of bronchopneumonia in bighorn sheep. Better understanding of transmission will help inform the translocation of sheep between geographic areas in ongoing efforts to augment declining populations. In addition to morbidity concerns, the tumors can diminish trophy quality by invading surrounding bone and causing skull deformities and alterations in horn growth.
This project attempted to develop a single or suite of genetic markers that will allow the Club to evaluate the probability that a deer of unknown origin is a Coues' whitetail (Odocoileus virginianus couesi).
The distribution of the Coues' whitetail is geographically distinct from other whitetails for most of its range. It extends at least as far south as the Tropic of Cancer (23.3 degrees N latitude), which is approximately the same latitude as the southern tip of Baja California Sur. There is geographic separation (a high plateau) between Coues' in the Sierra Madres of western Chihuahua and the larger Texas whitetail (O. v. texanus) in Coahuila and extreme southeastern Chihuahua. The Coues' blends into other forms south of Sonora, but the Club is interested in a molecular marker that will be useful north of the Tropic of Cancer.
Dr. David Paetkau, President of Wildlife Genetics International in British Columbia, was given a $25,000 grant to perform the work. Analysis began in January 2009.
The deer genetics studies supported by the Conservation Research Grants Program were completed in 2011. There were several phases to this work, carried out by a stellar team including Jim Heffelfinger, Arizona Game & Fish Department and B&C professional member; Emily Latch, University of Wisconsin; Olin E. Rhodes, Jr., Savannah River Ecology Lab; Renee Prive and David Paetkau, Wildlife Genetics International; and Irving Kornfield, University of Maine.
There were four main goals to the work: 1) delineate the geographic boundary of black-tailed vs. mule deer in the Pacific Northwest; 2) develop a test to identify whitetail x mule deer hybrids; 3) develop a test to differentiate Coues deer from other white-tailed deer in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico; and, 4) describe genetic variation of black-tailed and mule deer throughout their range in North America. Several scientific papers are resulting from this work, and B&C members and associates will read about the practical aspects, including applications in the B&C Records Program, in future issues of Fair Chase magazine. Hats off to our funding partners, the Camp Fire Fund Inc. and the Pope & Young Club for supporting this work, and to Jim Heffelfinger for his tireless leadership.
This project focused on sample collection of genetic materials, primarily from Mexico. Dr. Carlos Alcala-Galvan made great progress on this task thanks to his excellent working relationships with Mexican landowners, hunting guides, and government. Dr. Alcala-Galvan received $27,238 toward this project including grants from the Camp Fire Conservation Fund, Inc. and the Pope and Young Club.
Dr. Kornfield received $49,413 for this project which developed a diagnostic genetic test to differentiate hybrids of whitetail and mule deer from pure individuals of either species. Dr. Irving Kornfield of the Molecular Forensics Laboratory, University of Maine, examined 17 nuclear markers for their potential use in differentiating species and hybrids. Results were established that no single marker is diagnostic, but that multiple markers can be used in combination to provide identifications. This project was completed in 2011.
Ryan Walser received a $4,000 grant to support his Masters research on Public Policy vs. Biology: Evaluating Effects of Season Change on Harvest Characteristics of Mule Deer in West Texas. Graduating from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management, Ryan went to Sul Ross University to continue his graduate education while helping investigate causes of mule deer declines. In addition to completing a thesis entitled "Influence of Precipitation and the Effects of Season Change on Desert Mule Deer Populations in Trans-Pecos, Texas," Ryan received a Houston Safari Club Scholarship, coached the student quiz bowl team, and received the 2006 Graduate Student of the Year Award in Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross University as well as being named the Range and Wildlife Club student member of the year for 2005-06.
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in west Texas are of considerable economic importance to landowners. Therefore, understanding the effects of precipitation and length of hunting season on mule deer are crucial for their management. From 1986-2000 mule deer population numbers in Trans-Pecos, Texas experienced a 55% decline. It appeared that below-average precipitation from 1986-2000 may have been one of the factors that led to the decline. Ryan used Palmer drought indices as well as raw precipitation data to evaluate relationships between population abundance and fawn production and annual and seasonal precipitation from 1978-2003. Population abundance was most strongly correlated to the Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index (PHDI) (R = 0.645, P = 0.001). Fawn production showed the strongest positive correlation to the Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI) (R = 0.553, P = 0.003). The results indicated that the mule deer population in west Texas is susceptible to long-term and short-term drought.
In 1988, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) had changed the mule deer hunting season from a 9-day to a 16-day season. Subsequently in 2005, the mule deer season was changed from a 16-day to a 60-day hunting season modeled after the Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP) program for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Ryan evaluated the effects of the season change in 1988 to assess whether the 2005 season would affect the mule deer population in Trans-Pecos, Texas. He looked for differences in harvest quality, quantity, and population abundance before (1980-1987) and after (1988-1995) the season change. No differences were found in antler spread, basal circumference, or number of points (P = 0.27) although age increased from a mean of 4.47 to 4.83 years. No change was found in the number of bucks harvested (P = 0.19) but the buck:100 doe ratio increased (P = 0.001). There was no evidence that an extended season caused a decrease in quality and an increase in quantity of bucks harvested.
James Heffelfinger, a grant recipient in 2004 and 2005, used those funds to launch his work on Defining Practical Units of Conservation and Record Keeping Through Analysis of Genetic Differentiation in Mule and Black-tailed Deer. Jim effectively leveraged those funds to develop support from a variety of sources, and was awarded grants in 2005 and 2006 to bring the project to conclusion. Since 1992, Jim has been a regional game specialist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He held earlier jobs with the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico, Mississippi State University, and the Horlock Land and Cattle Company, Texas, where he managed wildlife operations on the Rio Paisano Ranch. Jim's education includes a B.S. in Wildlife and Biology from the University of Wisconsin, and M.S. in Wildlife and Range Management from Texas A&M University, Kingsville. He holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Arizona.
Throughout their geographic range, mule and black-tailed deer exhibit a wide range of variation in body size, coat color, antler shape, behavior, and many other characteristics. Such differences caused early naturalists to differentiate many species and subspecies based on slight differences of a few specimens, resulting in a confused and unsubstantiated pattern of geographic differentiation. Recent advances in
DNA techniques allow the kinds of analyses that are needed to determine deer distribution patterns in a biologically meaningful way. Using DNA analysis techniques, this study is evaluating genetic differentiation throughout the range of mule and black-tailed deer. The objectives are: 1) Provide a solid, defensible basis for trophy record-keeping categories based on a high-resolution genetic analysis. 2) Revise subspecific taxonomy for mule and black-tailed deer in North America and restructure into units of conservation based on evolutionary history, current genetic differences, and restriction to gene flow. 3) Assess populations for evidence of negative genetic effects of isolation and range fragmentation (e.g., inbreeding, genetic drift). 4) Protect lawful hunting of mule deer throughout their range by acquiring the knowledge needed to guard against unjust legal actions based on nebulous subspecies designations. 5) Use findings about genetic variation to determine the probability that a mule or black-tailed deer of interest was harvested from a particular location. 6) Provide a model of how intraspecific differences should be evaluated for animals with a large geographic range. The study draws from a collection of over 2,200 tissue samples taken from deer harvested during normal hunting seasons. The scope of this analysis is unmatched by any other wild game species in North America. It has tremendous potential for application, both in research and in strengthening the accuracy and integrity of trophy record books.
Charles Frost received a grant to support his work on Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease in Riparian Areas. Charles is working on his M.S. degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln under the direction of Scott Hygnstrom, Professor and Extension Wildlife Damage Specialist, and Kurt VerCauteren, CWD Project Leader. The project is a partnership of the university, USDA National Wildlife Research Center, USGS Biological Resources Division, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Berryman Institute, Cabela’s, and others. While employed with USDA Wildlife Services, Charles provided research assistance on projects involving black bear, Mexican Wolf, mountain lion, deer, skunk, cattle, and other species. He also has experience as a preschool teacher. Charles received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with minors in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and History.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has become a major wildlife threat in North America. This fatal, naturally-occurring and transmissible form of spongiform encephalopathy affects deer as well as elk. The biological mechanisms of CWD transmission are poorly understood, and this concerns wildlife managers because of the disease's potentially devastating impacts on deer, elk, and people who benefit from those resources. This study will investigate the biological mechanisms that affect the dynamics and spread of the disease in western Nebraska, where mule deer and white-tailed deer commonly overlap in riparian areas. Objectives of the study are to: 1) create spatial models that describe the potential for and rates of disease transmission in the Missouri River Valley; 2) identify deer movement patterns and mortality rates in the North Platte River Valley; 3) estimate the densities of mule deer and white-tailed deer; 4) evaluate the prevalence of physical contact within and among mule deer and white-tailed deer; 5) evaluate predictions of the spatial models in western Nebraska; and, 6) develop a simulation model to describe transmission of CWD in mule deer and white-tailed deer in riparian areas. The investigators will use movement and range data resulting from radio-tracking studies of more than 250 deer in the past 15 years. An additional 60 mule deer and white-tailed deer will be captured near a CWD-focus area and equipped with radio collars. This large data set will support examination of deer movement patterns, population dynamics, social behavior, and habitat selection as a basis for modeling the biological mechanisms that underlie CWD transmission. The findings will provide managers with important information for predicting and managing the spread of CWD and other diseases.
Todd Atwood, recipient of a 2004 grant, was also selected for 2005 funding to support his work on Conditions Affecting Limiting Factors for Mule Deer in Southwestern Montana. Todd is a Ph.D. student working under the direction of Dr. Eric Gese in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Range Sciences at Utah State University. Dr. Kyran Kunkel, in the Department of Ecology at Montana State University, is a collaborator on the project. Todd received his B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University. As an undergraduate, Todd studied sex- and age-specific patterns of mineral lick use and preference in white-tailed deer. His Master's research focused on the spatial and behavioral ecology of coyotes relative to anthropogenic activity. Current research interests include understanding the complex relationships between physiological stress, anti-predator behavior, and intra- and inter-specific competition.
Todd is using his B&C funding to investigate the behavioral and physiological responses of mule deer and coyotes to the re-colonization of wolves. Wolf populations are increasing and expanding into areas of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho where they have long been absent. This study seeks to identify the factors that limit mule deer population growth in the northern Madison ranges of southwestern Montana. It will examine how wolves affect mule deer mortality rates in multi-prey, multi-predator landscapes, and factors that influence these relationships. Specific objectives are to determine: 1) causes, extent, and timing of mortality in adult female and fawn mule deer and coyotes; 2) factors (including habitat) affecting the relative vulnerability of adult female and fawn mule deer to wolves, cougars, bears, and coyotes; 3) the effect of predators on mule deer population trends; and 4) the degree to which predation is additive or compensatory. The study uses both radio-collared and hunter-killed deer and other methods to gather a variety of information including deer nutritional condition, pregnancy rates, recruitment and survival of mule deer, predator responses, and estimations of wolf, coyote, and mule deer populations. Study results should be applicable to other mule deer populations, and especially those in multi-prey and multi-predator systems. With this information, managers will be better able to predict mule deer population trends and develop appropriate management strategies.
Louis Harveson received a grant to assist his work on Evaluating Landscape Changes of Mule Deer Habitats in Trans-Pecos,Texas. Louis is an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, where he has held a faculty appointment since 1998. His education includes a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Texas Tech University; M.S. in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University, Kingsville; and, Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Louis has been recruiting a student to conduct the study as part of a Ph.D. program. The project is a joint effort between the Department of Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross State University, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The project is a landscape-level study to evaluate the declines in desert mule deer in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. The objectives are to: 1) evaluate habitat changes such as brush encroachment, habitat fragmentation, and shifting land-use patterns in relation to population trends of desert mule deer; 2) explore relationships between precipitation indices and trends in mule deer populations; and, 3) assess trends of harvest characteristics (quantity and quality) in desert mule deer. The investigators have more than 25 years of spotlight survey data, from nine counties, to work with. Remotely sensed imagery will provide information about changing land-use patterns and habitat distribution through time. Records from the National Climatic Data Center will allow exploration of relationships between precipitation patterns and deer demographics. The study results will aid natural resource managers by identifying possible factors associated with the range-wide decline of desert mule deer in west Texas.
Cecily M. Costello received a grant of $8,830 toward her study of Kinship, population dynamics, and spatial organization of black bears under the supervision of Dr. Jodi Hilty. Cecily is completing this work while enrolled in the PhD program at Montana State University. She is highly experienced in the study of bears, having worked on Yellowstone grizzly bears for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, followed by a decade of bear research with the Hornocker Wildlife Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society. (As an interesting note, institute director Maurice Hornocker got his career start with mountain lion research funded by the Boone & Crockett Grants-in-Aid Program.)
Cecily's project will investigate the inter-relationships of kinship, sex and age composition, density, immigration, dispersal, and spatial organization for two black bear populations on public and private lands in New Mexico. The study will use data from a field study conducted 1992Ã‚Â-2000, for which Cecily was the principal investigator. Strengths of the study include its relatively long duration (by wildlife research standards), the diversity of habitats and land uses, and the large number of bears examined. Cecily aims to determine population characteristics of resident bears and to understand relationships of bear mortality to bear-human conflict. With such information, managers may be able to improve population composition by adjusting the timing and methods of bear hunting, and to deal more effectively with nuisance bears.
The 2004 grants competition will focus on mule deer. We will welcome proposals for studies that investigate causes of the range-wide declines of mule deer, or that contribute to the conservation or restoration of mule deer and their habitats.
Jocelyn L. Aycrigg received a grant of $8,930 to assist her study entitled Using the metapopulation concept to understand the spatial and temporal population dynamics of elk in Idaho. Jocelyn is pursuing her Ph.D. in Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho, working under the supervision of Dr. Edward "Oz" Garton. Jocelyn received a B.A. in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado, and M.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from the State University of New York. Her Masters research, completed within the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at SUNY, focused on social behavior of white-tailed deer in the central Adirondacks. Jocelyn's past positions include biological consultant with Pacific Gas and Electric Company, GIS analyst and wildlife biologist at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, gap analysis project coordinator with the Illinois Natural History Survey, and various university teaching and research positions.
Jocelyn's work addresses the challenge of managing elk on both private and public lands in central Idaho, where some populations are declining and others are increasing. The project will investigate spatial dynamics of elk, and attempt to identify factors that explain both patterns (increases and decreases populations) at the local and regional levels. The resulting information can be put to use in elk management on both private and public lands.
James W. Cain, a $10,000 2002 Grants-in-Aid student, was awarded an additional $7,250 toward his study on the Influence of Artificial Water Sources on Desert Bighorn Sheep. James is enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Arizona, working under the supervision of B&C Professional Member, Dr. Paul Krausman. James holds an M.S. in Biological Science from the California State University, Sacramento; and, a B.S. in Biological Science from Colorado State University. His previous research experience is varied, including nest predation studies of willow flycatchers and yellow warblers, hazard assessments associated with bird-aircraft strikes, demography of willow flycatchers, bird mortality associated with wind turbines at Altamont Pass, and other studies.
Most of the support for James' work is being provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The project is examining a long-standing assumption that water is one of the primary factors limiting the distribution and productivity of big game species in the arid southwest. The study objectives are to determine if the presence of artificial water sources influence survivorship, recruitment, productivity, and home range sizes of desert bighorn sheep in southwestern Arizona. This involves experimental closure of selected water sources, and documentation of the effects on survivorship, productivity, recruitment, and home range sizes of desert bighorn. James' project realized good progress in 2002. The 2003 grant will support an additional study component to investigate whether desert bighorn sheep change their diet and increase their consumption of cacti and other succulent plants in response to the closure of water catchments.
The development of artificial water sources is an expensive management practice. This study will help substantiate whether the practice actually provides benefits, or should be discontinued in favor of other conservation investments.
Kyle Van Why was awarded $5,000 toward his project titled Restoration of the Louisiana Black Bear into Suitable Habitats. Kyle is an M.S. student at the Louisiana State University, working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Chamberlain. Kyle Received his B.S. at the California University of Pennsylvania. He has worked as a wildlife technician for the Kansas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, and the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation.
Kyle's project is part of a larger study on the Louisiana black bear. Funding partners include the CoyPu Foundation, Black Bear Conservation Committee, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Louisiana Nature Conservancy, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. One objective of Kyle's project is to monitor success of relocation and restoration efforts for Louisiana black bears. Biology is only one factor in the success of restoration efforts such as this. Therefore, a second objective is to examine public perceptions and opinions relating to the restoration effort. The study complements an earlier study of black bear restoration in Mississippi for which B&C provided a grant-in-aid (see Fair Chase Magazine, Spring 2000 issue).
Jessica Montag received $5,000 in support of her project titled Evaluating Predator Compensation Programs as a Means of Resolving Social Conflict and Promoting Social Tolerance. Jessica is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Patterson. Her prior education includes an M.S. in Recreation Management at the University of Montana, and a B.S. in Recreation Resource Management at the University of Minnesota. Jessica has held a variety of jobs including research assistant, technical writing instructor, and community grants intern for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Before entering the natural resources field, she was a Corporal in the University of Minnesota Police Department - a position that included the supervision of 80 security personnel. She remains an active search and rescue volunteer.
Jessica's study will explore questions relating to the effect and effectiveness of predator compensation programs in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The goal is to provide an in-depth understanding of: 1) beliefs, values, meanings, and perceived conflicts that characterize stakeholders' perceptions of predator compensation programs; 2) views about the administration and effectiveness of compensation programs; 3) how individuals frame the underlying issues and conflicts relating to predator conservation; and 4) how individuals conceive of concepts like equity, fairness, individual versus societal responsibilities, and the public interest in regard to predator conservation. She has obtained the bulk of her funding from a variety of agencies and non-government organizations.
Cheryl-Lesley Chetkiewicz received a $5,000 contribution toward her research on Conservation of Large Carnivores in Fragmented Landscapes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Cheryl-Lesley is pursuing the Ph.D. in Environmental Biology and Ecology at the University of Alberta, under the direction of Dr. Mark Boyce. She holds an M.S. in Animal Productivity from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Alberta. Cheryl-Lesley's experience in wildlife research and conservation spans the western hemisphere. She studied kittiwakes on the Pribiloff Islands, mountain lion and mule deer interactions in California, and small cats in Peru. Employed as a biologist for the Gwich First Nation in the Northwest Territories, she developed cooperative research and community-based plans for caribou, grizzly bears, and fisheries. Recently she worked with the Jaguar Conservation Program and Global Carnivore Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and directed carnivore projects in Central and South America.
Cheryl-Lesley's ambitious project, supported by numerous partners, is valued at over $400,000 U.S. The study addresses the problems that habitat loss and fragmentation pose for the conservation of large carnivores. The location is the Canmore region of the Bow Valley and the Crowsnest Pass area in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. Using a suite of new tools and technology, the researchers will locate wildlife habitat and movement corridors in fragmented landscapes, and evaluate their utility with respect to grizzly bear and cougar conservation. The results will help resource planners and wildlife managers to focus habitat retention and protection investments, and to identify mitigation options in areas under development pressure.
Jacob L. Bowman - 1998
Feasibility of Reintroduction of the Black Bear into Mississippi
Jacob received $2,000 toward this study which studied public opinion through surveys as well as habitat suitability for reintroduction of black bear into 10 public areas of Mississippi.
The study had two overarching goals. First it intended to help farmers understand which characteristics of their farms influence deer-caused crop damage. And second it is intended to foster collaboration between wildlife managers and farmers so that habitat and population management activities will reduce crop damage in the future.
The Boone and Crockett Club provided $6,000 toward this study which looked at the effects of urbanization on mule deer in the Cache Valley of Utah.
The study addressed four questions: 1) Are deer that reside in urban areas available as harvestable game, or do their spatial and temporal patterns of migration (or lack thereof) exclude them from being hunted? 2) Can urban environments provide quality habitats for mule deer. 3) How much social and reproductive interaction is there between deer living in urban areas and surrounding rural areas. 4) How do deer modify their spatial behaviors while living on urban winter ranges?
Chris Johnson and Katherine Parker are PhD student and Associate Professor, respectively, in the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies program at the University of Northern British Columbia.
The Boone and Crockett Club’s Conservation Grants program provided the initial funding to launch this study which attempted to answer the question of "where do the caribou roam?" The study also provided some insight as to why.
This knowledge will be used by managers and biologists to make the decisions necessary to meet conservation objectives that will prevent the declines and extirpations that have characterized the northern caribou's more southerly relatives.