Effects of fire phenology and stump sprouting on summer nutritional carrying capacity for white-tailed deer
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
CommitteeStrickland, Bronson K.
Lashley, Marcus A.
Prescribed fire is commonly used to manage white-tailed deer habitat. However, nutrition is still limited during the summer for deer in the Southeast and prescribed fire is commonly restricted to the dormant season. Knowledge of fire phenology effects on summer nutrient availability is relatively unknown. Stump sprouts may also affect available nutrition, which could be important when managing for summer nutrition. To address this summer nutritional stress period, I examined impacts prescribed fire phenology and mechanical stump sprouting had on summer nutritional carrying capacity for deer. Results indicated implementing prescribed fire in both dormant and growing-seasons led to increased summer nutrient availability on the landscape level by increasing forage quality and quantity. Mechanically creating stump sprouts from woody plants led to increased available nutrition on a localized level. Combining these management actions to target summer nutritional stress periods can better help deer meet nutritional demands and reach their full potential.