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White-Tailed Deer Habitat

Ecology and Management on Rangelands

By Timothy Edward Fulbright

Publication Year: 2006

For most of the last century, range management meant managing land for livestock. How well a landowner grew the grass that cattle ate was the best measure of success. In this century, landowners look to hunting and wildlife viewing for income; rangeland is now also wildlife habitat, and they are managing their land not just for cattle but also for wildlife, most notably deer and quail. Unlike other books on white-tailed deer in places where rainfall is relatively high and the environment stable, this book takes an ecological approach to deer management in the semiarid lands of Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico. These are the least productive of white-tail habitats, where periodic drought punctuates long-term weather patterns. The book’s focus on this landscape across political borders is one of its original and lasting contributions. Another is its contention that good management is based on ecological principles that guide the manager’s thinking about: Habitat Requirements of White-Tailed Deer White-Tailed Deer Nutrition Carrying Capacity Habitat Manipulation Predators Hunting

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Perspectives on South Texas Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Kingsville


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

This is a book on range management for white-tailed deer. The fields of range and wildlife management are closely related but have maintained a considerable degree of separation since their beginnings in the early twentieth century. In the region this book is concerned with, habitat and rangeland are synonyms. We hope that range and wildlife managers will gain a greater appreciation of the ...

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1. Habitat Requirements of White-Tailed Deer

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pp. 3-36

Management of white-tailed deer habitat should be based on sound scientific theories (Joyce 1993; Fulbright 1996).1 Wildlife managers use scientific theories to predict the anticipated outcome of management practices. Management practices do not have the same results in all environments. Deer management practices that were developed and work well in humid environments may have ...

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2. White-Tailed Deer Nutrition

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pp. 37-58

Nutrition is fundamental to deer management because it determines how many deer a given habitat can support and the productivity of the population. Deer populations are far less productive in nutritionally inadequate habitats than in habitats where nutritional needs are met. Poor nutrition results in reduced ovulation and conception rates in females (Teer, Thomas, and Walker 1965). If ...

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3. Ecological Principles Underlying Habitat Management

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pp. 59-86

All management practices are based on theory. This is an important fact for wildlife managers to appreciate and understand. For example, managers often plant food plots based on the theory that dietary nutritional quality of deer feeding in the plots will improve. The anticipated outcome of most management practices is a prediction based on theory. A management plan (chapter 8) is a ...

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4. Estimating Carrying Capacity

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pp. 87-102

White-tailed deer population densities vary geographically. The Edwards Plateau region supports higher densities of white-tailed deer than any other dryland area in the United States, with greater than 17 deer/km2 (fig. 4.1; Quality Deer Management Association 1999). Much of the High Plains and Rolling Plains supports less than 6 deer/km2, whereas much of the Cross Timbers and Prairies and South ...

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5. The Cow: Livestock and White-Tailed Deer Habitat

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pp. 103-120

Most rangelands in Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico are grazed by domestic animals, although in recent years livestock have been removed on some private ranches. About 20 percent of respondents in a recent survey of landowners and hunting lessees in south Texas said livestock have not grazed their lease or ranch in the past three years (Bryant, Ortega-S., and Synatzske n.d.). Livestock...

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6. The Plow: Food Plots

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pp. 121-138

Planting food plots for white-tailed deer is a popular form of supplemental feeding (fig. 6.1; Koerth and Kroll 1994; Donalty, Henke, and Kerr 2003). In a recent survey of hunting lessees and landowners in south Texas, 56 percent of respondents said they plant some form of food plots (Bryant, Ortega-S., and Synatzske n.d.), and 41 percent said they planted them in both summer and winter. ...

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7. The Ax, Plow, and Fire: Brush Management for White-Tailed Deer

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pp. 139-180

Reducing canopy cover and density of brush may improve habitat for white-tailed deer by (1) increasing yield of herbaceous vegetation through reduced competition between woody and herbaceous plants; (2) providing openings to serve as focal areas for feeding; and (3) increasing nutritional quality, accessibility, and palatability of browse by stimulating production of immature sprouts from ...

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8. The Gun: Harvest and Management Planning

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pp. 181-192

Aldo Leopold (1933) asserted that game can be “restored” by hunting. Our primary emphasis in this chapter is use of hunting as a tool to maintain deer densities within carrying capacity of the habitat. Maintaining deer populations within carrying capacity allows the most palatable plant species in the habitat to reproduce, affords maximum protection to other resources, and benefits all organisms ...

Appendix 1. Common and Scientific Names of Selected Animals and Plants

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pp. 193-196

Appendix 2. Metric–English System Unit Equivalents

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pp. 197-197

Appendix 3. Determining Adequate Sample Sizes

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pp. 198-198

Appendix 4. Planting Summary for Selected Forages

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pp. 199-206


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pp. 207-234


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pp. 235-241

E-ISBN-13: 9781603445658
E-ISBN-10: 160344565X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585444991
Print-ISBN-10: 1585444995

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 60 b&w photos. 1 line art. 4 maps. 10 tables. 34 figs.
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Perspectives on South Texas Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Kingsville
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OCLC Number: 794701409
MUSE Marc Record: Download for White-Tailed Deer Habitat

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Subject Headings

  • Wildlife habitat improvement -- Southwestern States.
  • Range management -- Southwestern States.
  • White-tailed deer -- Habitat -- Southwestern States.
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