Table of Contents
Advances in Ecology
Volume 2014, Article ID 971809, 10 pages
Research Article

Vehicle Collisions Cause Differential Age and Sex-Specific Mortality in Mule Deer

1Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, Salem, OR 97310, USA
2Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, 373 BNR, Logan, UT 84322, USA
3Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, 213 BNR, Logan, UT 84322, USA
4Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 1470 N Airport Road, Cedar City, UT 84720, USA
5Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Utah State University, 219 ANSC, Logan, UT 84322, USA
6Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, 167 BNR, Logan, UT 84322, USA

Received 19 June 2014; Revised 21 October 2014; Accepted 22 October 2014; Published 11 November 2014

Academic Editor: David R. Breininger

Copyright © 2014 Daniel D. Olson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As roads continue to be built and expanded, it is important that managers understand the effects that vehicle-related mortality can have on the population dynamics of wildlife. Our objective was to examine the frequency of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) vehicle collisions to determine if different demographic groups showed differential susceptibility to mortality when compared with their proportion in the population. We also compared vehicle collision rates of mule deer, elk (Cervus canadensis), and moose (Alces alces) to determine their relative vulnerability to vehicle collisions. We found that 65% of mule deer involved in vehicle collisions were female; of those, 40% were adult does ≥2 yrs. When we compared the proportion of bucks, does, and fawns killed in vehicle collisions to surveys of live deer, we found that bucks were killed at rate of 2.1–3.0 times their proportion in the population. Additionally, when we compared vehicle collision rates for 2010 and 2011, we found that mule deer were 7.4–8.7 times more likely to be involved in collisions than elk and 1.2–2.0 times more likely than moose. However, we were unable to detect a negative correlation () between mule deer abundance and increasing traffic volume.