Date of Award

Spring 3-30-1999

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

School of Renewable Natural Resources

First Advisor

Johnson, Mark K.

Second Advisor

Chabreck, Robert H.

Third Advisor

Afton, Alan D.

Abstract

I conducted a food habits study of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at Avery Island, Louisiana, to determine if deer diets differed among seasons. In 1997, I randomly collected 25 seasonal fecal pellet groups in January. April, August and October respectively I also collected reference forage plant samples in conjunction with fecal pellet collections I estimated botanical composition of deer diets based on a microscopic analysis of fecal pellets I compared diets using a chi- squared contingency table to assess significant seasonal variation I also used Kulczynski's similarity index to determine degree of similarity among seasonal diets

I found significant differences in diet composition among seasons Differences primarily occurred because several plant taxa were available only during select seasons. Woody browse and fruits dominated diets regardless of season Callicarpa americana and Quercus virginiana made up substantial proportions of diets in all seasons sampled Many other taxa were consumed only in trace amounts My results indicate that food plots were used extensively in the winter when wheat was available. I determined that food plot plant taxa were an important dietary component apparently because other plant taxa were not available during winter

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Life Sciences Commons

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