Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project

Assessment of nutrition and predation as limiting factors for mule deer in New Mexico

December 2014 - December 2018


Participating Agencies

  • New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station
  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

The goal of this project is to determine which factors are effectively limiting mule deer in New Mexico. Our specific objectives are to:1) estimate mule deer survival rates and determine cause-specific mortality; 2) determine mule deer pregnancy rates and fawn recruitment; 3) assess the nutritional status of mule deer by determining the quantity (i.e., biomass of available forage) and quality (nutritional content) of forage available to mule deer within the study area; 4) determine diet composition and diet quality for mule deer; 5)estimate prey composition and kill rates for mountain lions; and 6)determine how habitat selection by mule deer is influenced by habitat conditions and predation risk by mountain lions.

Research Publications Publication Date
Cain, J.W., III, J.H. Kay, S.G. Liley, and J.V. Gedir. 2024. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) resource selection: trade-offs between forage and predation risk. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 12:1121439 | Download
April 2024
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Kay, J.H. 2018. Top-down and bottom up influences on mule deer in central New Mexico. M.S. Thesis. Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. 186 pp. November 2018