• Diet Overlap of Deer, Elk, and Cattle in Southern Colorado

      Hansen, R. M.; Reid, L. D. (Society for Range Management, 1975-01-01)
      The monthly diets of mule deer and elk were estimated by microscopic analyses of fecal samples from December, 1970, through November, 1971, and from June, 1971, through September, 1971, for cattle. Seasonal preferences for plants were observed for mule deer and elk. Deer diets consisted primarily of browse except in summer and early winter when grasses were taken in significant amounts. Forbs were eaten by deer in small amounts only in the spring and summer. Elk diets were mostly grasses, but a significant percentage of browse was consumed in all seasons except the summer. Cattle diets from June through September were almost entirely grasses or grass-like plants. Dietary overlap between deer and elk ranged from three percent in winter to 48% in summer; of deer and cattle in summer from 12% to 38%; of elk and cattle in summer from 30% to 51%. The diversity of plants in the diets was similar for deer, elk, and cattle.