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Deer Habitat in the Ozark Forests of ArkansasAuthor(s): Mitchell J. Rogers; Lowell K. Halls; James G. Dickson
Source: Res. Pap. SO-259. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 22 p.
Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
Station: Southern Forest Experiment Station
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DescriptionTwo enclosures of 590 and 675 acres were constructed and stocked with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to determine the deer carrying capacity of an Ozark mountain forest and to evaluate the impact of winter food plots on deer survival and productivity. Deer diets varied considerably within and among years, and they were closely related to habitat type and availability of acorns. Before food plots were established, the deer carrying capacity averaged only one deer per 45 to 100 acres, mainly because of a lack of high-quality, native forage during winter. Capacity was somewhat higher in the enclosure where cedar glades were more prevalent. Fawn production and winter survival of adult deer fluctuated widely and were positively correlated with acorn yields. After openings were established in the forest and planted with elbon rye (Secale cereale), ladino clover (Trifoliumrepens),and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica),the carrying capacity increased to one deer per 21 acres, and popula- tion levels remained fairly stable from year to year. Food plots seemed beneficial only during years of low mast yields. Even with access to high-quality forage, the deer populations were limited by a low fawn survival rate due to predation, disease, parasites, and other unknown factors.
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CitationRogers, Mitchell J.; Halls, Lowell K.; Dickson, James G. 1990. Deer Habitat in the Ozark Forests of Arkansas. Res. Pap. SO-259. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 22 p.
KeywordsCarrying capacity, disease, forage, mast, parasites, predators, white-tailed deer.
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