The University of Arizona

'Hobble Creek' big sagebrush vs. antelope bitterbush as a winter forage.

B.L. Welch, F.J. Wagstaff


From a planting of antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata Purshia DC) and 'Hobble Creek' mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana Rydb. Beetle), pairs of plants were selected to test the following 2 hypotheses: (1) wintering mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) prefer (as measured by percent use and/or grams of dry matter removed) 'Hobble Creek' big sagebrush over antelope bitterbrush, and (2) the winter nutrient content of 'Hobble Creek' forage exceeds that of antelope bitterbrush. Results of this study support the 2 hypotheses. 'Hobble Creek', a monoterpenoid-producing shrub, was preferred by wintering mule deer over a nonmonoterpenoid-producing shrub, antelope bitterbrush. Also, 'Hobble Creek' nutrient content was superior to that of antelope bitterbrush.


monoterpenoids;Purshia tridentata;palatability;winter;Artemisia tridentata;Odocoileus hemionus;Utah;forage;feeding preferences;chemical constituents of plants

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