Comparison of Two Diet Analysis Techniques Applied to White-tailed Deer

Paired rumen and fecal samples from 89 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) collected in the South Carolina Coastal Plain were analyzed using standard macro- and micro-techniques, respectively. Compared to fecal analysis, rumen analysis identified fewer plant taxa per sample (P < 0.05). A significant correlation among mean percent weights of forage categories (P < 0.05) and taxa (P < 0.05) was found. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients for percent frequency of detection were also significant for forage categories (P < 0.05) and taxa (P < 0.05). Estimates of mean percent weight were significantly different between techniques for 7 of 9 forage categories and 16 of 26 taxa found by both. The time needed to analyze the 2 types of samples was not significantly different. Usefulness of fecal analysis in estimating diets of southeastern Coastal Plain deer is discussed.

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