Changes in Diet and Nutrition with Increased Herd Size in Texas White-tailed Deer
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CitationKie, J. G., Drawe, D. L., & Scott, G. (1980). Changes in diet and nutrition with increased herd size in Texas white-tailed deer. Journal of Range Management, 33(1), 28-34.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractA high-density deer herd within a 391-ha predator exclosure on the Welder Wildlife Refuge was sampled to investigate diet and nutritional levels. Annual diet of the exclosure herd averaged 76% forbs, 21% grasses, and 3% browse. Deer from the surrounding area consumed 87% forbs, 10% grasses, and 3% browse. Fawns from both herds consumed less grass during the first 9 months of life. The exclosure herd also exhibited lower ruminal levels of crude protein, higher levels of calcium, and higher calcium to phosphorus ratios than the surrounding herd. It was hypothesized that with increased herd size, deer within the predator exclosure overutilized the most desirable forb species and were forced to consume more grasses. The resulting decrease in nutritional level was responsible for changes in health, condition, and population parameters.