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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Woodland Caribou - Rangifer tarandus caribou

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Global Rank: G5T4
State Rank: SX

Agency Status
FWP Conservation Tier: 4

External Links

General Description
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General Distribution
Montana Range

Western Hemisphere Range


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 68

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Relative Density



(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)

Spring: follow green-up, lower elevations, open timber; females calve at higher elevation slopes and ridges. Summer: mature spruce-fir, north slopes; rut habitat similar, moister, denser. Early Winter: old growth cedar-hemlock. Late Winter: mature subalpine fir.

Food Habits
Winter: arboreal lichens. Spring: forbs and shrubs. Summer: Vaccinium membranaceum and Valeriana sitchensis. Fall and early winter: evergreen forbs and shrubs and arboreal lichens.

26 to 28 caribou in northern ID, southern BC, 3 to 5 calves, 11 to 13 cows, 3 to 10 immature bulls, 3 to 4 mature bulls, cows, calves, immature bulls usually found together in 3.4 groups, mature bulls often more solitary - often move south.

Reproductive Characteristics
Selkirk herd raised 3 calves 1982 and 84, 5 calves in 1985. Calving second week of June at high elevations; high early calf mortality, maybe as high as 50 to 75% annually. Rut mid-September to October.

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Citation for data on this website:
Woodland Caribou — Rangifer tarandus caribou.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on April 23, 2014, from
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