Is seasonal diet composition of red deer (Cervus elaphus) is affected by game preservation?

Szemethy, László and Katona, Krisztián and Mátrai, Katalin and Sonkoly, Krisztina and Szabó, László and Schally, Gergely and Galló, Judit and Bleier, Norbert (2013) Is seasonal diet composition of red deer (Cervus elaphus) is affected by game preservation? In: Modern aspects of sustainable management of game population” Proceedings of 2nd International Symposium on Hunting, 17-20 October 2013, Novi Sad, Serbia.


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In Europe, approx. 280,000 deer, predominantly red deer (Cervus elaphus) and fallow deer (Dama dama) were kept in game preserves in 2012. Information on foraging habits of fenced populations is important for wildlife management purposes. However, actual knowledge of diet composition of red deer is mainly based on studies of free-ranging deer. Until this time, few specific studies have compared the diet composition of deer living in fenced and unfenced areas. Hence, we aimed to compare how diet composition differs inside and outside a game preserve during the vegetation period. Botanical composition of red deer diet was studied in fenced and unfenced areas of a forested region in Gyarmatpuszta, Hungary. We collected faeces samples in spring, summer and autumn (n=20 for each area and period). Analyses were made by microhistological identification of plant epidermis fragments found in the faeces. Browse species dominated the diet of red deer (40-82%) both, in the fenced and unfenced areas throughout the vegetation period. Oak species (Quercus spp.), the common tree of the areas, were always the dominant browse species in the diet (11-53%). The consumption of different shrub species was much lower in the fenced than in unfenced area. Ash (Fraxinus spp.), bramble (Rubus spp.), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) or rose (Rosa spp.) were highly selected by some individuals (15-86%). In turn, supplementary food appeared in a higher proportion in red deer diet in the game preserve than outside. This consumption was dominated by corn in fenced area in summer (21±33%) and autumn (35±14,8%). Grasses and forbs did not exceed 10% of the diet in the most cases. Differences in the diet composition can influence the quality of the individuals (body mass, trophy and venison quality) determining the management success in game preserves. Ongoing and later nutritional analyses of consumed plant materials and venison can reveal such differences.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
S Agriculture / mezőgazdaság > SK Hunting sports / vadgazdálkodás, vadászat
Depositing User: Dr Krisztián Katona
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2014 20:46
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2014 20:46

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