• Crude Terpenoid Influence on Mule Deer Preference for Sagebrush

      Personius, T. L.; Wambolt, C. L.; Stephens, J. R.; Kelsey, R. G. (Society for Range Management, 1987-01-01)
      Samples of current year's growth of leaves and stems were collected in February 1983 from basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. tridentata), Wyoming big sagebrush (A.t. wyomingensis Beetle and Young), mountain big sagebrush (A.t. vaseyana [Rydb.] Beetle), and black sagebrush (A. nova Nels.) on a mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) winter range near Gardiner, Montana. Samples were from both lightly and heavily used plants (form classes) within each taxon. Crude terpenoids were separated into 3 groups: headspace vapors, volatile, and nonvolatile crude terpenoids. Compounds in each group are thought to stimulate the sensory organs of mule deer. Individual compounds were identified and quantified for comparison with preference ranks among taxa and between utilization form classes. Seven compounds were selected by discriminant analysis as indicators among the 4 taxa, with methacrolein + ethanol, ρ-cymene, and the sesquiterpene lactones the most probable preference determinants. Seven other compounds were found useful for separating plants within taxa into form classes. Chemical differences between the 2 form classes, however, were less distinguishable than were those among the 4 taxa.