Abstract

Title:  Relationship of abomasal parasite counts to deer density, kidney fat and diet on Blackbeard Island, Georgia.
Author(s): Osborne, J. S., A. S. Johnson, R. L. Marchinton, P. E. Hale, and W. R. Davidson.
Year: 1979
Abstract: Abomasal parasite counts (APCs) from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virainianu~ nigribarbis) on Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge were compared to deer density, kidney fat indices (KFI), and diet quality from 1974-77. Population density was estimated to be 98 deer per square mile in 1974, a year of poor mast production. Following a heavy harvest and die-off, density declined to 72 deer per square mile in fall 1975 and slowly increased under the influence of good mast crops to 81 per square mile by fall 1977. Mean October APCs declined from 2550 in 1974 to 1445 for 1975-77, but there was much variation among individual deer within collection periods. Indicators of fall diet quality (percent crude fat and nitrogen-free extract [NFE]) and body condition (KFI and visual estimates of kidney fat) during 1975-77 were greater (P<0.01) than in 1974. APCs for a given month were directly related (P<0.01) to deer density for that month, and average fall APCs were inversely related (P~0.01)to body condition (mean fall KFI). Deer dietary values (crude fat and NFE) in October were both related (P<0.05) to December APCs. However, diet quality in a given month was not related to the APC made in that same month. APCs provided a reliable indication of herd condition on Blackbeard Island. This study tends to substantiate the conclusion of Eve and Kellogg (J. Wildl. Manage. 41:169-177) that "the APC technique can compliment, but not replace, standard methods for evaluating white-tail deer herds."

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