Mountain Lions vs. Deer
It is estimated that a Mountain Lion will consume between 19 and 40 deer per relationship in Texas to better understand the influence Mountain Lions may. a mountain lion population, and (2) to assess the impact of a population of lions on Intraspecific relationships, manifested through territoriality, acted to limit lion three-year period, but populations of deer and elk, the principal prey species. Seasonal spatial ecology of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in the central Sierra Scaling exponents of the relation between predator versus prey biomass and.
Mountain Lions and Deer - Deer Friendly
Understanding the prey selectivity of pumas gives insight into their effects on prey population dynamics and should be considered by game managers Effects of male targeted harvest regimes on prey switching by female mountain lions: Harvest regimes which target male carnivores are now widely accepted to result in increased sexually selected infanticide SSI because of rapid male turnover and immigration by non-sire males, and sexually segregated habitat use because of female avoidance of infanticidal males We suggest that harvest regimes which focus on male harvest to reduce predation on declining secondary prey could be causing increased predation on declining secondary prey elsewhere.
New law of nature: Physiologists have long known that the speed of growth declines with size This is because with greater crowding, prey species have fewer offspring for every individual The predator-prey power law: We show a robust scaling law that emerges uniquely at the level of whole ecosystems and is conserved across terrestrial and aquatic biomes worldwide.
This pattern describes the changing structure and productivity of the predator-prey biomass pyramid, which represents the biomass of communities at different levels of the food chain.
Whether hunters killed 10 percent or 35 percent of cougars, the population remained the same Some species use coursing tactics; others use stealth to stalk and ambush prey Kleiman and Eisenberg Coursing predators, such as wolves, may pursue moose for long distances Mechapparently assessing moose condition and the likelihood of a successful kill Peterson Coyotes Canis latrans exhibit variability in their social behavior Bowen ; Harrison ; Messier and Barrette and have been reported to stalk or lie in wait when hunting small mammals Bowyer ; Wells and Bekoff Hunting of ungulates by coyotes, however, typically involves coursing tactics in which prey are approached, tested, and sometimes pursued over long distances Bleich ; Bowyer ; Gese and Grothe Most felids are stalking predators Ewer ; Leyhausen that rely on cover and stealth Seidensticker ; Sunquist to approach prey closely and then rush and pursue an individual over a relatively short distance Bank and Franklin ; Elliott et al.
This form of ambush hunting has been reported for mountain lions Puma concolor— Bank and Franklin ; Beier et al. When prey occur in groups e.
Body size of prey also may influence selection by carnivores Bekoff et al. Most ungulates are sexually dimorphic, with males substantially larger than females Ralls ; Weckerly Additionally, males often possess horns or antlers that can increase the risk of injury to a predator Hornocker Most felids are solitary hunters and tend to kill species weighing more than half their own body weight Gittleman ; Packer Furthermore, mountain lions are substantially larger than coyotes; in California, these canids weigh about 9.
Although coyotes can hunt in packs Bowen ; Bowyerthereby increasing size of prey they kill, body size still may play a role in selection of prey. Prey selection also may vary among social categories within a predator species as a result of differences in behavior or energetic needs.
Male and female mountain lions may encounter different sex and age classes of deer at varying frequencies because of differences in habitat selection, timing and amount of movement, or home-range size of these large predators.
Energetic needs of male and female mountain lions likely vary because of differences in body size or demands of rearing young, but data on this topic are few.
We compared mortality caused by mountain lions and coyotes versus that caused by automobiles for a single population of mule deer to examine selection of ungulate prey by predators that differ substantially in body size, hunting style, and reproductive status.
We predicted that coyotes, a small coursing predator, would be more likely than mountain lions, a large stalking hunter, to select mule deer that were younger or in poor physical condition. We also predicted that male and female mountain lions would not differ in their selection of prey unless other factors besides hunting style e. We predicted that female mountain lions would kill a greater proportion of young deer than would males and that female mountain lions also would kill a greater proportion of adult female deer than would male mountain lions.
If body size affected prey selection by coyotes and mountain lions, we also predicted that such marked differences in body size would lead to a preponderance of small prey items in the diet of coyotes, even though these canids often hunt in packs. We also predicted that mountain lions with different reproductive demands would kill mule deer differentially with respect to sex and age classes of deer.
Deer inhabit about 90 km2 during November—April, but the area of use varies with snow depth Kucera Most mule deer that overwinter in Round Valley migrate in spring to high-elevation ranges in summer Kucera ; Pierce et al. A small proportion of the herd, however, remains on the eastern side of the mountains and is prey for resident mountain lions and coyotes throughout the year.
Dominant vegetation is characteristic of the Great Basin Storer and Usinger and includes a mosaic of bitterbrush Purshia tridentatasagebrush Artemisia tridentataand rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseosum.
Patches of blackbrush Coleogyne ramosissima and mormon tea Ephedra nevadensis also are interspersed. Salix, Rosa, and Betula occidentalis occur in riparian areas. Detailed descriptions of the study area were provided by Kucera and Pierce et al.
Our study began in November at the end of a prolonged drought. Annual precipitation during the study was highly variable: Sampling prey and predators Three hundred ten mule deer females, 93 males were captured and fitted with radiocollars during winter or spring — Deer were captured on their winter range, and individuals from groups that already included an animal with a collar were intentionally avoided.