Deer And Cattle Diet Overlap In Louisiana Pine-Hardwood Forests: Preliminary Findings

Seasonal food habits and diet overlap between white-tailed deer (Odvcvileus virginianus) and cattle are being studied on grazed and ungrazed, forested and clearcut loblolly-shortleaf pine (Pinus taeda-P. echinata)-hardwood sites in Louisiana. Preliminary data from direct observation of cattle and captive deer suggest that little diet overlap is likely if cattle stocking is based primarily on grass supplies. Greatest overlap occurred during winter on forested sites and during summer on clearcuts. However, few plant species shared by deer and cattle contributed more than 1% of either animal's diet during any season. Summer and fall overlap mainly involved grasses. Winter and spring overlap centered on grasses and woody plants in clearcut areas, and on woody plants in forested sites. Diets on clearcuts appear to represent complementary use by deer and cattle of an abundant resource rather than direct competition.

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