The University of Arizona

Instantaneous intake rates of 9 browse species by white-tailed deer.

B.H. Koerth, J.W. Stuth

Abstract


Instantaneous intake rate (IIR) and instantaneous nutrient intake rate (INIR) by tame white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) of 9 common browse species in south Texas were studied to determine if morphological properties of the plants were associated with intake rate, and if IIR and INIR correlated to preference ratings derived from percent time spent foraging a particular species and with total foliage consumed. Mean leaf mass showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation to IIR (r = 0.75), INIR of neutral detergent fiber (r = 0.73), acid detergent fiber (r = 0.73), and acid detergent fiber nitrogen (r = 0.68). Mean leaf length showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation to INIR of crude protein (r = 0.67). Thorn density showed no significant (P > 0.05) correlations to IIR or INIR. Leaf weight/stem weight ratio showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive-correlation to IIR (r = 0.65) and INIR of acid detergent fiber nitrogen (r = 0.81). Rankings of IIR and INIR did not agree with preference indices based on weight of forage removed or amount of time spent browsing. Significant (P < 0.05) positive correlations for all trials between preference indices based on weight removal and time spent browsing (r = 0.73 for new leaf development, r = 0.87 for stem elongation, and r = 0.70 for full leaf development) indicated these 2 techniques closely agreed on species rank.

Keywords


browse plants;Odocoileus virginianus;Texas;botanical composition;browsing

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