Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

2004

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Jonathan A. Jenks

Abstract

Research in the 1990s indicated that populations of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the northern and central Black Hills had declined since the late 1970s likely due to habitat deterioration. In August 2000, the Jasper fire consumed nearly 35,000 ha of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest in the southern Black Hills. To ascertain the nutritional condition of white-tailed deer and mule deer (O. hemionus) and their response to fire, 5 adult white-tailed deer and 5 adult mule deer were collected in burned and unburned habitat, in February and August, 2002 and 2003. Collected deer were weighed and necropsied at a designated field station and samples were removed and later analyzed to determine nutritional condition. Fifteen fresh fecal samples of whitetailed deer, mule deer, elk (Cervus elaphus), and cattle were collected in burned and unburned habitat from January-May and June-October, 2002 and 2003. Microhistological analysis was used to determine diet composition, and fecal nitrogen and phosphorous were measured using semi-micro Kjeldahl methods and colorimetric analysis, respectively. ANCOVA was used to test for main and interactive effects of year, season, and habitat. Mule deer body weights and kidney fat indices increased from 2002 to 2003; kidney fat indices were greater in winter than summer, and body weight and fat indices were greater in burned than unburned habitat. Eviscerated weight of white-tailed deer increased from 2002 to 2003, and fat indices were greater in winter than summer. Serum chemistry analyses of mule deer indicated that blood urea nitrogen and sodium were greater in winter than summer, and calcium, globulin, and packed cell volumes decreased from 2002 to 2003. In white-tailed deer, chloride and magnesium levels were greater in winter than summer, and chloride and phosphorous levels increased from 2002 to 2003. Hepatic mineral assays of mule deer indicated that concentrations of manganese and zinc were greater in summer than winter, phosphorous levels were greater in winter than summer, barium and chromium levels were greater in 2003 than 2002, sulfur levels were greater in 2002 than 2003, and cadmium, manganese, and zinc were greater in burned than unburned habitat. White-tailed deer hepatic mineral concentrations of phosphorous, calcium, copper, and iron were greater in winter than summer; manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and zinc were greater in summer than winter; selenium, copper, and barium were greater in 2003 than 2002; boron, sodium, and sulfur were greater in 2002 than 2003; and zinc levels were greater in burned than unburned habitat. Based on serum titers, bovine viral diarrhea virus type I was prevalent in 23.1 and 30.8% of mule deer in burned and unburned habitat, respectively, whereas type II was prevalent in 5.6 and 12.5% of mule deer in burned and unburned habitat, respectively. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease was prevalent in 7.7% of mule deer sampled in unburned habitat. Bovine viral diarrhea virus type I was prevalent in 23.8 and 9.5% of white-tailed deer collected in burned and unburned habitat respectively, whereas type II was prevalent in 6.7 and 18.8% of white-tailed deer collected in burned and unburned habitat, respectively. Surface enlargement factor of rumen papillae of mule deer was greater in summer than winter and in burned compared with unburned habitat, and rumen digesta dry weight was greater in unburned than burned habitat. Surface enlargement factor of rumen papillae of white-tailed deer was greater in summer than winter, rumen digesta dry weight was greater in 2002 than 2003 and in unburned than burned habitat; and gastrointestinal digesta dry weight was greater in 2002 than 2003. Consumption of Bouteloua gracilis by white-tailed deer was greater in winter than summer, 2003 than 2002, and burned than unburned habitat; total forb was greater in summer than winter and burned than unburned habitat; and Symphoricarpus occidentalis, total shrub, fecal nitrogen, and fecal phosphorous values were greater in summer than winter. Consumption of Bouteloua gracilis by mule deer was greater in 2003 than 2002 and winter than summer; Pinus ponderosa was greater in 2002 than 2003; and total forb, S. occidentalis, fecal nitrogen, and fecal phosphorous values were greater in summer than winter. Fecal nitrogen in mule deer also was greater in burned than unburned habitat. In cattle, consumption of Trifolium sp. and total forb was greater in summer than fall, and Bromus inermis, Poa sp., Stipa comata, Berberis repens, and total shrub consumption were greater in fall than summer. Burned habitat reduced dietary overlap of elk and white-tailed deer but increased dietary overlap of white-tailed deer and mule deer, and mule deer and elk, in winter. In summer, burned habitat reduced competition between cattle and deer but increased competition for all pairs of ungulate species. On a per gram basis, dietary overlap was greater in burned than unburned habitat for deer and elk in winter but was greater in unburned habitat for elk and white-tailed deer, and cattle and white-tailed deer, in summer. Based on forage removal and vegetation cover response, burning increased available forage for deer, elk, and cattle in the southern Black Hills. Within 3 years post fire, nutritional condition indices of mule deer were greater in burned than unburned habitat, in both winter and summer; however nutritional condition indices of white-tailed deer were greater in burned than unburned habitat in summer but not in winter. Therefore, white-tailed deer selection for thermal and hiding cover in burned habitat in winter, resulted in limited use burned habitat. In addition, increased vegetation cover in burned habitat reduced competition of elk and cattle with white-tailed deer in summer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

White-tailed deer -- Effect of fires on -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
White-tailed deer -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.) -- Nutrition
Mule deer -- Effect of fires on -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Mul deer -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.) -- Nutrition
Forest fires -- Environmental aspects -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)

Description

Includes bibliographical references

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

286

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 2004 Teresa J. Zimmerman. All rights reserved.

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