Title: “Mule deer population dynamics in the Piceance Basin: responses to recent energy development activities and historic changes in deer demographic parameters.”
Tuesday, April 11th
Paonia Public Library
This project was initiated in 2008 to address mule deer/energy development interactions and to identify improved approaches for development planning and evaluate habitat treatments as a mitigation option to benefit mule deer exposed to energy development activity.
As is typically the case with long-term research projects, we learned several other aspects about mule deer population dynamics that were not the primary focus of the initial research effort. The Piceance Basin supports the largest migratory mule deer population in Colorado and has been the focus of past research efforts during the 1980s and early 1990s. Comparing data collected since 2008 to similar data collected during the 1980s-early 1990s provided interesting comparisons to better understand how mule deer population dynamics in this area have changed over the past few decades. This information highlighted the decline in deer numbers occurring during the early 1990s, which has remained at similar levels since, and a shift from a primarily habitat/forage limited system during the 1980s to improved forage conditions that are not currently limiting this population. The interesting question is why haven’t deer numbers increased given that this population is no longer limited by forage conditions? I will address changes mule deer demographic parameters since the 1980s and address potential factors currently influencing this population.
Biography for Chuck Anderson:
Chuck Anderson received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1990 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming in 1994 and 2003, respectively. During his Master’s work, he developed and evaluated helicopter sightability models to estimate moose and elk population size and composition. Chuck’s dissertation research involved a number of projects addressing cougar management, predation and population genetics. Chuck was a Large Carnivore Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department from 1994 to 1997 and from 2004 to 2006, where he directed research evaluating grizzly bear-cattle interactions and application of DNA-based mark-recapture methods for estimating black and grizzly bear populations. Additionally, he analyzed annual harvest data and prepared annual management recommendations for cougar and black bear populations. During 2003 and 2004, Chuck was a Research Biologist with Arizona Game and Fish Department, where he investigated pronghorn migration patterns and a disease outbreak in desert bighorn sheep. Since December 2006, he has worked in the Mammals Research Section for the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW). In this capacity, he has focused on ungulate research and is investigating landscape scale mule deer/energy development interactions to develop mitigation approaches that benefit mule deer populations in areas experiencing extensive energy development. In addition, Chuck has been serving as Mammals Research Leader for CPW since April, 2013.