• Effect of Grazing Horses Managed as Manipulatros of Big Game Winter Range

      Reiner, Richard J.; Urness, Philip J. (Society for Range Management, 1982-09-01)
      A sagebrush-grass range in northern Utah, a critical winter area for deer and elk, was grazed by domestic horses in order to evaluate their potential to reduce selectively herbaceous vegetation which competes with bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), an important big game winter forage. The diets of horses were recorded during spring and summer grazing under two stocking levels on small pastures. Horses consumed largely grass species throughout the study period in this high seral community. Forbs were important forage only under heavy stocking. No use of bitterbrush was recorded. Rate of forage disappearance, expressed on a per-animal-weight basis, was found to be lower on heavily stocked pastures. All pastures grazed by horses responded with increased seasonal twig production of bitterbrush over the non-grazed state. Seasonal twig production was greatest in response to heavy stocking during early July.