same number of deer recruited into a population also must be removed by hunting and natural mortality. The population will decrease if the number of deer that die exceeds the number of deer recruited into the population. Conversely, the population will increase if fawn recruitment exceeds the number of deer that die. The result of low fawn recruitment means fewer bucks and does can be harvested when populations are high or near biological carrying capacity.
30 DEER-HABITAT RELATIONSHIPS "Sportsmanly chivalry has become so deep-rooted in the conservation-minded hunters of Pennsylvania that we are finding the second step in game restoration the hardest -- getting sportsmen to realize that it is just as important to limit the number of a species to within its food supply …" Ross Leffler, January 29, 1931 Deer, being adaptable creatures, are found in a variety of environments; however, they are best suited to forested habitats. Forests provide deer with a place to eat, to rest, to escape, to bear and rear young. Like all other animals, deer have certain living requirements essential to their existence; food for nourishment and cover for protection are the two most important. To a deer, home is the forest. The importance of food to deer is beyond question; deer must eat to survive. How well they live depends on the quality, quantity, and availability of food. Although deer eat a great variety of vegetative material, not all plants or parts of plants are good deer forage; nor is every plant, or part of a plant, equally nutritious and palatable to deer at all times of year (Table 6). Deer are capable of recognizing nutritional differences and select food accordingly. A general listing of preferred and non-preferred foods would be an oversimplification of the complex nature of the subject. Preferences should be considered in terms of availability in a particular area at a specific time. For example, in one study, deer preferred natural vegetation over a nutritionally complete deer pellet ration in spring when new leaves emerged (Liscinsky 1977). Perhaps the best way to summarize the qualitative aspects of deer food is to relate some findings from detailed studies. Calcium and phosphorus needs are interrelated. Captive deer fed low energy, low calcium and phosphorus, or low protein diets were small in size compared to deer that were fed enough of a nutritionally complete ration to satisfy their needs (French et al. 1955). Some males on deficient diets only produced spikes as 2.5 year-old males, whereas males on complete diets produced at least 6 points as 2.5 year-olds. Study deer came from across Pennsylvania. Another study took wild male fawns from an area of poor habitat (i.e., southern Potter, eastern Cameron, and northern Clinton counties), released the animals in a large enclosure, and provided them with a complete ration of pelleted deer food. At 1 year and 3 months-of-age, males in the enclosure weighed approximately 30 percent more than wild deer of
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Hunting, Deer, White-tailed deer, Deer Management Program