Montana Wildlife Project
Population dynamics, modeling, and data quality advancements
July 2016 - June 2017
- Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
IDFG uses integrated population models to help inform management decisions for mule deer. These models are implemented in the PopR framework hosted at the University of Montana. PopR is intended to provide a “one-stop-shop” for population analysis and data visualization. We will continue development of PopR for IDFG. • Improve implementation of sightability models The current sightability models do not account for all sources of variation. We will expand the current sightability models to more appropriately handle variation from detection, group size and sampling. • Include predictive fawn survival models Dr. Hurley developed predictive models for fawn survival. We will implement those models in PopR to allow for widespread application of the models within IDFG. • Expand and enhance herd composition analyses Herd composition analyses have traditionally been built off of binomial models or proportions. These estimators lead to unstable properties. We will implement multinomial models for herd composition analysis which will provide a more unified framework for future work. • Refine elk population models PopR currently only contains population models for mule deer. We will implement elk models developed by Nowak (2015) and tailor those models to meet the needs of IDFG. • Implement a harvest data exploration tab Harvest information is an important component of population management. Easy access to harvest statistics provides managers with detailed information related to harvest by location and year. We will develop an extension to the PopR interface that queries, displays and tabulates harvest statistics based on user specified criteria.