Forage Selection by Mule Deer on Winter Range Grazed by Sheep in Spring

Michael A. Smith, John C. Malechek, Kenneth O. Fulgham
1979 Journal of range management  
Late spring grazing by sheep altered the amount of several forage categories available to deer the subsequent autumn and winter. Total herbaceous plant material was much reduced by spring-time sheep grazing, but regrowth following fall precipitation increased the proportion of green herbaceous material available. Current year's growth of bitterbrush was also increased relative to the nongrazed situation due to the release of moisture and nutrients accompanying the removal of herbaceous plants
more » ... herbaceous plants by sheep. Subsequently winter diets of mule deer on the sheep-grazed area were higher in herbaceous components but lower in shrub components than on the adjacent area where sheep had not been previously grazed. Implications of these findings are that quality of deer diets was not detrimentally affected where sheep had grazed during the preceding spring and a much greater animal yield is possible through dual use.
doi:10.2307/3897382 fatcat:qlsq6v7qrzbn5oi76u4spltyxi