Measuring Wildlife Depredation of Native Pecans

Wildlife depredation of native pecans was evaluated during 1989 and 1990 using ground plots to estimate nut damage, and shuck to pecan ratios to estimate caching in peripheral areas of south-central Oklahoma native pecan groves adjacent to woodland. Total wildlife damage ranged from 28-447 kg/ha, which exceeded harvestable pecans (0-103 kg/ha) from the same areas. Caching comprised 59% (4-381 kg/ha) of the total damage attributable to wildlife. Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) nut damage ranged from 17-67 kg/ha, and exceeded that of all other wildlife combined. Fox squirrel nut damage, bird nut damage, caching, total wildlife damage, and harvested pecans did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between years. However, the ratio of damaged to harvested pecans was higher for all damage categories in the lower pecan production year of 1990. Significant differences were detected in fox squirrel nut damage and caching among groves within years (P = 0.04 and P = 0.02, respectively).

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