Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Relative spatial distributions and habitat use patterns of sympatric moose and white-tailed deer in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

January 1, 2006

We examined the distribution and home range characteristics of moose (Alces alces) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. Pellet count transects revealed low densities of moose and higher densities of white-tailed deer, and provided evidence of partial spatial segregation between moose and white-tailed deer possibly due to habitat heterogeneity. There was limited interspecific overlap in the relatively large annual home ranges of radio-collared moose and white-tailed deer. Both moose and white-tailed deer exhibited significant selection for spruce (Picea spp.) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) vegetation types at the home range scale. White-tailed deer significantly selected a 12-20 m canopy height over all others while moose significantly selected 5-11 m and 21-30 m canopy heights over the 12-20 m canopy height. Moose significantly selected open/discontinuous canopy cover and white-tailed deer selected both closed/continuous and open/discontinuous canopy covers over dispersed/ sparse canopy cover. Differential habitat selection between moose and white-tailed deer at Voyageurs National Park might be related to the differences between these species' abilities to cope with a northern mid-continental climate. Spatial segregation between moose and white-tailed deer at Voyageurs National Park may allow moose to persist despite the presence of meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) in white-tailed deer.