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1 December 2008 Soil Region Effects on White-tailed Deer Forage Protein Content
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Body mass and antler development of Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) vary by soil resource region in Mississippi, but a causative link from soil to deer morphology has not been established. We investigated crude protein (CP) content of 8 important deer forages in 5 soil-resource regions to determine if regional differences in available nutrition could potentially explain some variation in morphometrics. Crude protein levels of a species composite and all but 1 individual forage species decreased from spring to summer. Every species exhibited regional differences in spring, and only 1 species did not vary by region in summer. Composite CP also differed by region. Differences in potential nutritional planes among regions may be substantial enough to impact lactation success, fawn recruitment, and body growth. Directly sampling seasonal diet quality among regions and comparing nutritional planes among deer herds of different densities may further explain regional morphometric differences.

Phillip D. Jones, Stephen Demarais, Bronson K. Strickland, and Scott L. Edwards "Soil Region Effects on White-tailed Deer Forage Protein Content," Southeastern Naturalist 7(4), 595-606, (1 December 2008).
Published: 1 December 2008

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