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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recommend that you get the September 2000 Michigan Out-Of-Doors magazine and read a couple of deer management articles. One article is on page 42, habitat capacity by Justin Hall, MSU Extension Agent. Some highlights follow - The article points out that measuring carrying capacity through habitat assessment is very labor intensive and expensive. A better alternative is to measure a habitat's carrying capacity by measuring trends in the biology of the population using that habitat. Trends to examine include fawn-to-doe ratio, antler beams, and average body weights. (By the way, I believe there's been decreased fawn-to-doe ratios in the Jackson, Calhoun County area that I hunt.) And maintaining the population of deer below their habitat's carrying capacity benefits both the deer and all the other wildlife that uses the habitat.

And perhaps even more interesting is John Ozoga's article on page 48 with the caption "Overcrowding harms individual and herd health even among well-nourished deer. He summarizes the Cousino Wildlife Research Station study, whereby they let the deer herd grow to an artificially high number, while maintaining good nutrition. However, the social stress resulted in a negative impact on the herd, including much lower fawn survival, etc. Again, this is something that we probably should be paying closer attention to with our densely populated Southern MI deer herd.

If you get a chance, read the articles and post your comments.

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Boyd


Quality Deer thru Sound Deer Management

[This message has been edited by bwiltse (edited 08-10-2000).]
 

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If over-crouding limits fawn numbers and fawn survival won't the herd numbers naturally decrease over time? <----<<<
 

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Joe Archer, I think over time many problems in nature may eventually fix themself but I certainly don't think it's the way we want to go about it. (And let's remember the excess deer population problem results primarily from man, not nature). While exact periods of time are difficult if not impossible to forecast for a species decline to reversal of the trend, we're certainly talking about a lot of years and I don't believe we want this. I think you'll get a lot better insight by reading the article and I know that John Ozoga has a lot more specifics of the study in addition to the article and would be more than willing to share them and answer any questions. I personnally believe that John is one of the best if not the best whitetail deer research biologists that MI has ever had. I've found his articles and studies to be without bias and to be presented in a balanced manner, so as not to try to lead the reader down a certain desired path.

Boyd
 
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