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Lucas Olson

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) of the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona had a population estimate of 10,200 individuals in 2019. The herd is relatively isolated; limited in range to the east, south, and west sides by the Grand Canyon. Annually the Kaibab herd migrates an average of 27 mi (43 km) between summer and winter range. Winter range is along the west, east, and northern extents of the plateau; consisting of pinyon-juniper woodlands mixed with sagebrush, cliffrose, bitterbrush, and various grasses. Some of the Kaibab herd winters in Utah, sharing winter range with Utah’s Paunsaugunt Plateau herd. During migration mule deer pass through mid-elevation transitional range containing Gambel oak, pinyon pine, and Utah...
The South of Interstate 40 (I-40) pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) herd make one of Arizona’s most remarkable migrations. This herd resides primarily in GMU 8, which had a population estimate of 450 individuals in 2019. Unlike traditional summer-winter range dynamics, this pronghorn herd relies on a complex of several important seasonal ranges connected by narrow corridors. Migration between ranges appear to be driven by winter conditions, thus, the timing of the movements is highly variable. The herd has high fidelity to these corridors, which elevates the importance of research and management efforts to conserve them. During the summer, these pronghorn inhabit large grasslands in and around Garland Prairie. During...
The San Francisco Peaks mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) herd makes one of Arizona’s most extraordinary annual migrations between Flagstaff, AZ and the Grand Canyon. The migration begins on summer range in GMU 7, where an estimated 5,300 mule deer reside. Their summer habitat contains alpine, subalpine, and ponderosa pine forests mixed with open grasslands and meadows. Beginning in October, a portion of the herd migrates north to GMU 9 to winter range along the South Rim containing pinyon-juniper, ponderosa pines, sagebrush, and cliffrose habitat. Through funding from Secretarial Order 3362, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) began a GPS collar study beginning in June of 2019. A total of 46 mule deer have...
The Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah is home to a prolific mule deer herd numbering around 5,200 individuals in 2019. In early October, these mule deer begin their migration from the Plateau traveling south distances up to 78 miles to winter range in the Buckskin Mountains near the Utah-Arizona border. Approximately 20-30% of the Paunsaugunt Plateau herd reside in northern Arizona during the winter, sharing winter range also used by deer from the Kaibab Plateau herd. Beginning in late April, deer reverse their migration to summer range on the Plateau. The most significant challenge for these deer is US Highway 89 which bisects this migration corridor and winter range, where deer-vehicle collisions have historically...
The San Francisco Peaks mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) herd makes one of Arizona’s most extraordinary annual migrations between Flagstaff, AZ and the Grand Canyon. The migration begins on summer range in GMU 7, where an estimated 5,300 mule deer reside. Their summer habitat contains alpine, subalpine, and ponderosa pine forests mixed with open grasslands and meadows. Beginning in October, a portion of the herd migrates north to GMU 9 to winter range along the South Rim containing pinyon-juniper, ponderosa pines, sagebrush, and cliffrose habitat. Through funding from Secretarial Order 3362, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) began a GPS collar study beginning in June of 2019. A total of 46 mule deer have...
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