Time, Magnitude, and Quality Estimates of Forage Consumed by Deer in Woodland Clearings
- R. S. Kalmbacher and
- J. B. Washko
Forages are seeded in woodland clearings by state and federal agencies to provide herbage for deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Such plantings can supplement the diet, but the quantitative and qualitative means by which agricultural forages supplement the food base are not known. The purpose of this study was to measure time and magnitude of use, and nutritional quality of a birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) — orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) mixture, a birdsfoot trefoil — bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) — quackgrass (Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.) mixture, and a mixture of native herbage (Danthonia spp., Festuca ovina L., Andropogon spp., Panicum spp., Rumex spp., Solidago spp., and Achillea millefolium L.) in order to establish guidelines for management of forage for deer in woodland clearings.
Significant forage utilization occurred primarily in late April and May when only the grasses grown in association with birdsfoot trefoil were available. Annual consumption of these cool season grasses averaged 500 kg/ha or 8% of average annual production. The cool season grasses averaged 250/, crude protein during peak utilization. Significant utilization was not measured on the native herbage. Most of these species did not resume growth until after consumption of the cool season grasses declined.
Management of forages for deer in woodland clearings should aim at producing forage during the early spring. Selected forages should be managed as a high protein supplement to bridge the gap between winter and summer foods. There appears to be little need to manage clearings as summer Led sources for deer.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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