In most populations of mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), mineral lick use is an essential part of the ecology of the species. In many areas, the distribution and use of licks in the landscape is poorly known, rendering planning for resource development difficult. We examined lick use by 28 GPS radio-collared mountain goats in 2 study areas in southeastern British Columbia during 2004–2005. Viewing collar-location movements on digital orthophotos, we assumed goat use of 6 previously known and 10 suspected mineral licks. Field visits verified that 9 of the 10 suspected sites were mineral licks. Thirteen of the 15 licks used by collared goats were within forests with commercial harvesting potential. All but 3 of the licks were ≤600 m from the closest logging block, and 5 licks were <100 m away. Number of annual visits to licks by individual goats ranged from 0 to 9. Goats often moved considerable distances (up to 17.3 km) to visit licks. Most visits by males occurred between early May and late June (median 9 June), and most visits by females occurred between early June and mid-July (median 21 June). Mean time spent at licks on each visit was 1.5 days for females and 1.6 days for males. Most of the licks were characterized by numerous cavities dug under trees (which we term "lick trees"). Using GPS collars, we were able to collect data on lower-elevation mineral licks not previously known to researchers.
Poole, Kim G.; Bachmann, Karl D.; and Teske, Irene E.
"Mineral lick use by GPS radio-collared mountain goats in southeastern British Columbia,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 70
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol70/iss2/7