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# Accuracy of Field Estimates of Deer Food Habits

O. C. Wallmo, R. B. Gill, L. H. Carpenter and D. W. Reichert
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Oct., 1973), pp. 556-562
DOI: 10.2307/3800322
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3800322
Page Count: 7
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## Abstract

The "grazing minutes" method of determining food habits was tested with tame mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) that were simultaneously observed at close range. More use was attributed to shrubs as a class and less use to grasses and forbs than actually occurred. Identifiability of individual species varied with plant size, distance, and observers. Results suggest that the observer must be within 75 feet (23 m) of the deer to identify more than 80 percent of the grazing correctly to species. The "feeding site" method was tested by counting instances of use on a sample of 1-$\text{foot}^{2}$ (30 × 30 cm) plots after the site was grazed by tame deer. Use of shrubs, as a group, was underestimated, grasses overestimated, and forbs underestimated. Error with individual species stemmed largely from improper size and distribution of the feeding-site sample with relation to the distribution of plants and grazing use.

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