Advisor: Dr. Clayton Nielsen
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations have been declining over the past decade across the western United States, including on Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. In 2010, the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife documented a 53% decline in the mule deer population. Since mule deer are socially and economically important to the Diné (people), it is important to understand what is driving the decline of the species, particularly the significant decline seen on Navajo Nation.
My study will analyze adult female mule deer movements throughout the Navajo Nation to determine migration routes, stopover locations, and arrival and departure dates of spring and fall migrations. Using this information, we can determine what habitats and corridors are of most importance to mule deer and implement the results into the first Mule Deer Management Plan for Navajo Nation.