Emergency feeding of mule deer during winter: tests of a supplemental ration

  • Published source details Baker D.L. & Hobbs N.T. (1985) Emergency feeding of mule deer during winter: tests of a supplemental ration. Journal of Wildlife Management, 49, 934-942.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival

    A controlled study in 1984 on three areas of a predominantly grassland site in Colorado, USA (Baker & Hobbs 1985) found that supplementary feeding of mule deer Odocoileus hemionus hemionus increased overwinter survival. Mortality was lowest for deer provided with as much supplementary food as they could consume (24%), intermediate for deer given fixed quantities of supplementary food (33%) and highest for deer not provided with supplementary food (53%). Three study areas (≥5 km apart, 660–1,000 ha extent) were monitored. Supplementary food consisted of wheat middlings, brewer’s dry grain, cottonseed hulls and alfalfa formed into wafers. It was provided daily, from 7 January to 10 April 1984, in equal or greater quantities than deer consumed in one study area and at 0.9 kg/deer/day in another study area. No supplementary food was provided in the third area. Biweekly aerial deer counts were conducted from 27 January 1984 and mortality was assessed by ground surveys for carcases, during 1–15 June 1984, of randomly selected sample plots from each study area.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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