What do deer eat and whyAuthor(s): Lowell K. Halls
Source: In: White, Larry D.; Guynn, Dwight, eds. Holistic ranch management--putting it all together: Proceedings of the 1984 international ranchers roundup; 1984 July 30-August 3; San Angelo, TX. Uvalde, TX: Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Texas A&M University: 266-276.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (523.0 KB)
DescriptionFood selection by white-tailed deer is mainly a function of seasonal availability and relative abundance of plants and plant parts, palatability, appetite, and nutritional factors. In addition to consuming food plants, deer meet their nutritional needs by synthesizing microbial symbionts in the stomach. Nutrients most frequently deficient in deer diet are crude protein, phosphorus and energy. The digestion and supply of these and other nutrients is markedly influenced by the physical and chemical character of consumed foods. Lack of adequate nutrition results in detrimental fetal development, neonatal mortality, fawn abandonment and the debilitation and death of mature deer. The relative abundance, condition and degree of key plant use by deer are useful indicators of habitat conditions and trends.
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Halls, Lowell K. 1984. What do deer eat and why. In: White, Larry D.; Guynn, Dwight, eds. Holistic ranch management--putting it all together: Proceedings of the 1984 international ranchers roundup; 1984 July 30-August 3; San Angelo, TX. Uvalde, TX: Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Texas A&M University: 266-276.
Keywordswhite-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, food habits, plants, nutrients, nutrition, condition
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