Introduction Group of Mammals of Neithercut Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes fulva) Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Coyote (Canis latrans) White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes fulva Smallest member of Canidae Common by late Pleistocene Crossed Beringia and released by settlers Red, Silver, or Cross coat types Barbara Simpson
Red Fox Breeding season December-April in Midwest Sexually Mature in the first Year & monestrous Gestation lasts days Mean litter of 5 pups Both parents provide care Exploring begins after 3 weeks Weaned at 5 weeks Dispersal brought by onset of puberty (usually end of summer) 31 and 11 km dispersal for males and females respectively Hank Velder
Red Fox Super Generalist Active hunters Fruit & Vegetable in summer Carnivorous in Winter Small mammals most important
Red Fox Most widely distributed carnivore in the world Arctic to desert and everything in between Larivière and Pasitchniak-Arts 1996 adapted from others
Red Fox Lowland hardwood prefferred Swamps avoided Well drained sandy soils needed for Den sites Territorial Common and occurs in Neithercut
Red Fox Scale is serious issue Successful in fragmented and heterogeneous landscapes Home range is 4.9 to 11.8 times the size of Neithercut Home range affected by sympatric predators
Red Fox Predators: man, coyote, wolf Man mortality: hunt and harvest 83%, car kills 11% Diseases play minor role
Bobcat Life History: – Smallest non-domesticated cat in Michigan – Typically 2-3 times the size of any domesticated cat – 750-1,100 mm long, tail being mm – Largely active at night – Expert tree climbers – Diet consists mainly of small mammals and birds – Camoflauged coloring assists in hunting – Average litter size is 3 – Very solitary – Uses urine markings and feces to mark its “own” territory
Bobcat Habitat: – Once was found in mountains, semi- desert, or forested areas – Upland hardwoods, hardwood-conifer mixed forest, lowland swamps, and riparian zones – Highly adaptable despite habitat lost to human settlement – Likes to have lots of vegetation to hide in while hunting – Often have several den sites
Bobcat Range: – Once was found in all parts of Michigan – Due to human settlement, and agriculture, there are now areas in Southern Lower Michigan without bobcats – Will travel anywhere from sq km for food and mating purposes, sometimes even 12 km in a single night – Typically a female’s territory will not overlap another females, but may however overlap with adjacent male territories
Bobcat Status & Occurrence: – Found from southern Canada, all the way throughout the U.S. and Mexico – Found all throughout the Upper Peninsula and the northern half of the Lower Peninsula – Recently a bobcat was killed in Albion, Michigan – This suggests that the bobcat very well could have extended its range much further into southern Michigan.
Coyote (Canis latrans) Origins: Fossil record traces back to the Pleistocene epoch Roughly 1 MYA In fact, many canids trace their origins back to this period -coyotes, foxes, dingos
Coyote Physical Characteristics Primarily brownish gray with cream colored underside and throat Varies from nearly black to red to nearly white Long, slender muzzle with large canines Bushy tail that’s half body length Abnormally large ears in relation to body size Sexual dimorphism Males average 14 kg Females average 13 kg Larger in eastern U.S.
Coyote Reproduction – Courtship 2-3 months January to March – Females in heat for up to five days – Gestation Period: 9 weeks – Up to 19 pups/litter (6) Venture out at only 3 weeks Weaned at 6 weeks Altered by conditions – Maturity: 9-10 months (both) Altered by conditions
Coyote Ecology – Dens concealment, high prey availability, proximity to water Utilize those of smaller animals like woodchucks and badgers – Territoriality Highly territorial Males = 42 square kilometers] Females = 10 kilometers Overlap? – Activity both day and night, primarily nocturnal – Lifespan 6-8 years, max 10 yrs – Packs? Alpha pair, but up to 10 individuals
Coyote Predators MI trapping from Oct 15 to Mar 1 Private Property Wolves and competition
Coyote Habitat and Range – Originally plains and sparsely wooded areas – Now deserts, swamps, tundra, grasslands, brush, and dense forests below sea level to high altitudes – urban – All of Canada and Alaska except severe and most of Central America
Coyote Status and Occurrence – Not listed and endangered or threatened – More overabundant in areas(not Clare County) – 0-3 individuals/square kilometer in optimal habitat
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Description Tan/brown in summer and grayish brown in winter. Has white on its throat, around eyes and nose, stomach and underside of tail. Males (Bucks) weigh lbs. Males have antlers and regrow them every year. Females (Does) weigh lbs. Stand 3.5 ft. at shoulder. Life span =10 years in wild. Predators Wolves Coyotes
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Range: Throughout the majority of the North American continent, expect many areas west of the Continental Divide and colder areas of the north. Status & Occurrence: Found in every county in Michigan. Deer’s home range is less than a sq. mile.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Habitat use: Requirements 1) cover- escape and protection from predators, bedding, thermal protection in winter. 2) space- activities and homeland. 3) water- surface or preformed areas. 4) food- browse, forbs, grasses, and succulents. Ideal habitat = dense thickets (in which to hide and move about), edges (which furnish food), and openings to encourage deer to stay in area. Potential habitat = forested cover, croplands, grasslands, urban areas. Habitat needs vary by season and area of state.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Behavior Nervous/shy species, very cautious and depend on keen sense of smell and hearing. Social creatures- establish herd hierarchy and warn each other of potential danger through vocal, visual, and olfactory (smell) cues. When alarmed they stomp hooves and snort to warn other deer. Also raises it’s tail, “flag”, to show white underside. Very fast runners (can reach up speeds up to 40 m.p.h.), leapers (up to 15 ft. and as far as 30 ft.), and swimmers. Social Units: Doe/fawn groups. Buck groups. Alone during breeding season.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Reproduction Mate in 2 nd year some females can mate as young as 7 months. Breeding season: Oct.-Dec. Gestation is approx. 6.5 months ( days) During the “rut” bucks mark their territories with scrapes and rubs. Bucks travel many miles out of their home range to breed with several does. Does go into heat in Nov. for a short 24-hr. period. If she doesn’t mate she will go through a second estrus 28 days later. 1-3 fawns. Fawns weigh 4-8lbs at birth and have a reddish-brown coat with white spots. They are able to nibble on vegetation a few days after birth and are weaned by 10 weeks, they remain with doe until the next breeding season starts. Their spotted coat is replaced in 4-5 months and they reach their max. size in 3-5 years.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Diet Browser/grazer Foods high in nutritional value. Grasses, legumes, leaves, twigs, agricultural crops – corn, alfalfa, buckwheat. Also orchids, garden vegetables, and ornamentals. Deer prefer particular plants and will not eat others until preferred is no longer available (winter= starvation foods). Whitetail’s are ruminants - four chambered stomach. Allows the animal to gather a lot of food at once, then chew and digest it at a later convenience.
Management Goals & Objectives Maintain Biodiversity of Neithercut Woodland Determine extent of management needed for species addressed – Determine population levels through mark- recapture studies and other techniques
Management Goals & Objectives Increase denning habitat for bobcat –Create and maintain coarse woody debris (CWD) Decrease road mortality Build underpasses through US-115
Management Goals & Objectives Increase early successional, grassland, and shrubland habitat –Clear cut three 10 acre plots leaving treetops –Burn and plow 10 acre field to plant native grasses –Invasive plant species control (Autumn Olive) –Plant native fruit-bearing species (wild raspberry and blackberry)
Description of Area At this scale of classification, Neithercut is predominately forest and wetland with little open areas. Neithercut Woodland is found five miles northwest of Farewell, MI in Clare County off highway US-115 and is surrounded by forests to the north, west, and east, and farmland to the south. This property consists of 252 acres that was donated to CMU from the Littlefield family.
Current Conditions Major habitats include: mixed hardwood forests(mixed stands of aspen, oak, sugar maple, and white birch),, cedar swamps, beech-maple climax forests, cattail marshes, shrub swamps, prairies, meadows, vernal pools, and creeks. Edge habitat varies within these major habitats as well as the successional stages from lowland to upland forests. Areas immediately surrounding Neithercut Woodland are largely herbaceous and open field/agricultural type vegetative habitats. Sandy loams and loamy sands were lumped into the same category and muck is a coarse classification of very poorly drained soils.
Management Recommendations Proposed ten acre plots for clear-cutting and controlled burn.
Management Recommendations Proposed sites for underpasses allowing safe passage for wildlife under US-115 into Neithercut Woodland which is outlined in black.
Evaluation and Monitoring Trapping and mark-recapture – General population estimate Radio telemetry – Patterns of movement and habitat use DNA analysis – Scat samples and hair from snares Track surveys – Patterns of habitat use, corridors
Timeline Year One Contact Road Commission and propose possible locations for underpass Spring/Summer/Fall: – Trapping and mark-recapture for population estimates – Radio telemetry study to establish habitat use in and around Neithercut Woodland – Send out bids to logging companies – Physical removal of invasive autumn olive Winter: – Track surveys – Cutting autumn olive and applying herbicide to stem Year Two Based on data from year one, solidify direction of management recommendations Continued negotiations on underpass Spring/Summer: – Burn and plow field and plant Winter: – Clear cutting – Cutting autumn olive and applying herbicide to stem Year Three Finalize plans for underpass Continued removal of autumn olive Spring/Summer: – Continued planting of native plant species in early successional habitats created in previous year to reinsure their yearly stability Winter: – Cutting autumn olive and applying herbicide to stem Year Four Spring/Summer: – Begin construction of underpass – Continued autumn olive control/removal Winter: – Cutting autumn olive and applying herbicide to stem Year Five Spring/Summer: – Complete construction of underpass – Continued autumn olive control/removal Winter: – Cutting autumn olive and applying herbicide to stem – Maintain clear cut areas through selective cutting Year Six Through Year Ten Begin monitoring success of management plan – Track surveys, trail cams in underpass and clear cut areas, DNA analysis, trap and mark-recapture – Assess and evaluate whether further autumn olive control is necessary Evaluate results and begin further management recommendations
Budget YEAR 1 TOTAL ($3,950) YEAR 2 TOTAL ($5,777) YEAR 3 TOTAL ($170) YEAR 4 TOTAL ($2,500,170) YEAR 5 TOTAL ($170) YEAR 6 TOTAL ($1,638) YEAR 7 TOTAL ($1,038) YEAR 8 TOTAL ($1,038) YEAR 9 TOTAL ($1,038) YEAR 10 TOTAL ($1,038) TOTAL COST OF IMPLEMENTATION ($2,516,027) (SUBJECT TO CHANGE) ALL MANUAL LABOR IS VOLUNTEER- BASED