We determined production and survival of elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) calves in Michigan using a variety of methods to index herd productivity. Calf production in Michigan was comparable with the highest rates ever recorded for North American elk. Calf survival averaged 0.90 (SD = 0.05), 0.97 (SD = 0.04) and 0.87 (SD = 0.05) for summer, winter and annually, 1987-1991. Calf survival rates in Michigan were higher than in other North American elk populations. Continued high calf production, in combination with high calf survival, indicates that elk condition is excellent in Michigan, as habitat quality allows cow elk to breed and successfully raise a calf, essentially every year, despite the high energetic demands associated with late gestation and lactation.
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Production and survival of elk (Cervus elaphus) calves in Michigan