Use of Fertilized Honeysuckle by White-tailed Deer in Western Tennessee

Use of fertilized Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) by whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was examined by a marked-plant and twig procedure to assess the potential for utilizing naturally-occurring foods that have been enhanced by fertilization in deer management. We conducted the study on the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Gibson and Carroll counties, Tennessee. Twenty transects were established in August 1992 and were examined ca. every 3 weeks until March 1994. Percent frequency of browse by deer was different (P = 0.0001) among all seasons (n = 7). Browse percentages were lowest during the summer, increased during fall, and peaked during winter for all transects. Ten transects were randomly selected and fertilized in spring 1993 to determine if fertilization increased deer use of honeysuckle. Browsing of fertilized and non-fertilized transects within each season was not different (P ≤ 0.05) except for winter 1994 (X2 = 7.330, P = 0.0068). Percent frequency of browse was highest during winters. Results suggest that fertilization of natural foods may have useful management implications.

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