Quality of Deer Forages from Eastern West Virginia

During the period January through March 1973. white-tailed deer (Odcoileus virginianus) forage was analyzed for availability mineral content crude protein, and digestibility on Short Mountain Public Hunting Area. West Virginia. Carrying capacity was estimated using both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the available forage. On the basis of available dry matter 20.99 deer days per acre could be supported. This compares to 16.91 deer days per acre for digestible dry matter and 20.30 deer days per acre for crude protein. Phosphorus, supporting 12.11 deer days per acre and potassium, supporting 16.67 deer days per acre. could also limit deer numbers. Carrying capacity may be over-estimated when using available dry matter and the effect of forage quality on health and productivity of the deer heard must be considered.

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