Factors Effecting Deer Diets and Nutrition(L-2393)

Calvin L.Richardson*
In the past, South Texas ranchers focused on growing grass to enhance cattle production. However, increasing prices of wildlife hunting leases have encouraged a change in management priorities. Because of the current economic importance of wildlife, especially white-tailed deer, ranchers should recognize the impact that brush management, grass seeding and other improvement practices for livestock have on their diets and nutrition can benefit ranchers who are interested in deer management and want to coordinate vegetation management practices with changes in the nutritional perspective, there are three important considerations for the manager interested in maintaining a healthy, productive deer herd.

1. Nutritional requirements of deer relative to sex, age and physiological state.
2. Nutritional value of the habitat relative to the availability and quality of forage.
3. Competition among deer and other animals for the available forage.