• While-tailed Deer Food Habits and Nutritional Status as Affected by Grazing and Deer-Harvest Management

      Warren, R. J.; Krysl, L. J. (Society for Range Management, 1983-01-01)
      White-tailed deer were collected in 1979 and 1980 from two areas in central Texas to determine differences in diets and nutritional status between years, sexes, and areas. Area 1 was more heavily populated with white-tailed deer, exotic big game, and domestic livestock than Area 2. Differences in summer and fall precipitation levels between years were reflected in altered forb and browse consumption by deer as determined from rumen contents. Differences in forb selection, oak mast consumption, and juniper browse consumption were detected between areas and were considered evidence of differences in range condition between areas. White-tails obtained from Area 1 were older than those from Area 2, but were not significantly larger in carcass weights, which also reflected the lower range condition of Area 1. Crude protein levels of rumen contents were greater in females than males and were greater in deer obtained from Area 1 than Area 2. These differences in rumen protein resulted from differences in consumption of acorns, a highly preferred, but low protein food item. Kidney fat indices reflected differences in rainfall patterns between years. Native and exotic big game populations and livestock grazing must be controlled to maintain a high level of nutritional status in the economically important white-tailed deer of central Texas.