Title:  Soil phosphorus as a site index for deer management.
Author(s): Jacobson, H. A., D. C. Guynn, and E. J. Hackett.
Year: 1981
Abstract: In an earlier work (Jacobson et al. 1977. Proc. Joint N. E.-S. E. Deer Study Group Meeting) we proposed the hypothesis that through measurement of soil phosphorus levels accurate body weight predictions could be made for an area. In that study, there was an apparent relationship between soil phosphorus and deer body weight, but body weights on several of the 9 management areas tested were well below predicted potential. We suggested this was due to populations which had exceeded carrying capacity and that through herd reduction or habitat improvement body weights could be raised to a predicted level. For our purpose, carrying capacity was considered the number of animals are area can support over time, in optimum physiologic productivity. Through management, deer herds on some areas have since been brought in better balance with their habitat providing a test of our original hypothesis. When only the year with the highest mean body weight, by age class, on each of the nine areas is used, we obtained the following regressions: for 1 1/2 year bucks Y = 31.2X + 38.4 (where Y = dressed body weight in lbs. and X = log. of lbs. of available phosphate per acre of topsoil); for 2 1/2 year bucks Y = 45.6X + 40.5. Respective correlation coefficients of r = 0.92 and r = 0.65 were obtained. When one area thought to exceed carrying capacity during all years for which data were available was excluded, regressions of Y = 31.2X + 42.0 (r = 0.94) and Y = 45.8 + 43.1 (r = 0.82) were obtained for 1 112 year and 2 112 year bucks, respectively.

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