Resource Selection, Movement Patterns, Survival, and Cause-Specific Mortality of Adult Bull Elk in Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


Elk were successfully reintroduced to southeastern Kentucky beginning in 1997. Since then, elk have exhibited a decade- long irruptive growth pattern in the absence of mortality factors that commonly limit its abundance in more western portions of North America. By many measures, the reintroduction has been a profound success - recreational opportunities and ecological restoration of an important megaherbivore have been accomplished. Researchers at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky Department of FIsh and Wildlife Resources have studied the habitat use, space use and movement patterns, and demographics of reintroduced elk in Kentucky for over a decade. However, despite research and knowledge gained on many demographic components, we know little about several key facets of adult bull elk ecology important to management of this important age-gender class. We propose to equip adult bull elk with Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to examine resource selection, movement patterns, survival, and cause-specific sources of mortality in reclaimed coal mines in eastern Kentucky. FIeld research and data analysis will be conducted by a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky. Study objectives will focus on bull elk and include: 1) characterization of fine-scale resource use and movement patterns, estiamtion of survival and cause-specific mortality, characterization of dispersal movements and resource use patterns. Filling these gaps in our knowledge about the life history of adult bulls will permit formulation of better management strategies for handling nuisance bulls and for more precise allocation of hunting opportunities for older bulls.
Effective start/end date7/20/125/30/13


  • KY Department of Fish and Wildlife: $60,500.00


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