• Vegetation characteristics influencing site selection by male white-tailed deer in Texas

      Pollock, M. T.; Whittaker, D. G.; Demarais, S.; Zaiglin, R. E. (Society for Range Management, 1994-05-01)
      We studied the effects of vegetation characteristics in southern Texas on site selection by mature, male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Raf.). Thirteen, radio-collared animals were monitored during winter, spring, summer, and fall of 1986-87 and 1987-88 to determine area-usage patterns within each animal's respective seasonal home range. After each season, structural vegetation attributes were measured with transect-oriented data collection techniques inside the most heavily used and unused areas of each animal's home range. Comparisons were made between these areas to determine whether site selection by deer was in response to differing vegetation characteristics. In general, the most heavily used areas possessed a greater amount of woody canopy cover (greater than or equal to 85%), woody species richness (18-20), and horizontal screening cover than areas with no use. In contrast, herbaceous densities did not differ between the most heavily used and unused areas. Consequently, habitat management manipulations conducted specifically for mature male white-tailed deer in southern Texas, should include provisions for creation or maintenance of sites possessing dense woody canopy cover, a high number of woody species and dense horizontal screening cover.