Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 38, Number 6 (November 1985) by Subjects
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Changes in Diets of Wapiti during a Hunting SeasonThis study was conducted to assess the impact of hunting on diets of a wapiti (Cervus elaphus) population in west-central Alberta, Canada. During special winter hunts, consumption of rough fescue (Festuca scabrella) decreased from 86.9% to 34.3%, while browsing increased. The contribution of wild rye (Elymus innovatus) and wheatgrass (Agropyron subsecundum), mostly growing in forested areas, increased 15-18%. After the hunting seasons, animals returned to the same diet they had selected previously. Browse had significantly higher crude protein contents, but lower dry matter digestibility than grasses. In spite of submaintenance crude protein contents of grasses, undisturbed wapiti appeared to prefer grazing to browsing.