Predator-Prey Project: White-tailed Deer Survival in Michigan

BobcatJoin MooseWood Nature Center for an informational program about the Michigan Predator-Prey Project on Friday, March 24th at 6:00 pm. at Northern Michigan University’s Seaborg Center, room 2806. The Seaborg Center is located on the second floor of the West Science Building, which is accessible from Elizabeth Harden Drive.

Suggested donations of $5 per person or $10 per family is encouraged.

The Predator-Prey Project is a cooperative effort between Mississippi State University and the Department of Natural Resources with support from the Safari Club International Foundation and Safari Club Michigan Involvement Committee.

Upper Peninsula deer herds are influenced by many factors including weather, habitat, and predation. The goal of the Michigan Predator-Prey Project is to investigate the role winter weather, predators, and habitat have on white-tailed deer survival. Currently in its third phase (a nine-year study), field studies in the low and mid snowfall zones are complete with the high snow fall zone study currently under way.

Some methods used for study include:

  • Live capture of deer and carnivores (black bear, bobcat, coyotes, wolves)
  • Use of radio collars and radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) collars
  • Fawn searching- search for newborn fawns and predation sites of fawns in Spring
  • Habitat measurements- estimates cover and available foliage
  • Winter weather- a weather station is maintained to determine the effects of a harsh winter on deer and predators
  • Population and alternative prey estimates- camera surveys, hair snares, howling surveys, and winter track surveys are used to estimate deer and predator numbers. Pellet counts and grouse drumming, and aerial cache surveys are used to estimate snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, and beaver populations.

Research Wildlife Technician, Erin Largent with the Department of Natural Resources and Research Associate, Ashley Lutto with Mississippi State University will talk about the current undertakings of the project and share an assortment of stories, photographs, demonstration equipment, and props taken and used out in the field. They will also share information on educational requirements needed for these types of biological field study occupations.

Demonstration equipment will include several radio collars, plaster tracks, pelts and maps to pass around. MooseWood will have additional wildlife pelts, skulls and literature available for your exploration. Depending on time a short telemetry demonstration will be done or youth will be able to practice conducting telemetry themselves.

Erin and Ashley will answer questions at the end of the program.


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MooseWood Nature Center is an independent, non-profit organization supported by memberships, donations and grants. Our mission is to celebrate nature through education and action in the Upper Peninsula.


Sat & Sun 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
or by appointment

Phone: (906) 228-6250