UNGULATE BROWSING ON 2-YEAR-OLD GROWTH OF SHRUBS ON A BOREAL MIXEDWOOD WINTER RANGE IN SOUTHWESTERN MANITOBA
Moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus elaphus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were tracked in snow to sites of intensive feeding during late winter on a Boreal Mixedwood range in southwestern Manitoba. About 40% of the recorded bites for moose and elk on twigs of hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) terminated in 2-year-old wood. On average only 10% or less of the bites on aspen (Populus tremuloides), saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), res osier (Cornus stolonifera), choke cherry (Prunus virginiana), and pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) terminated in 2-year-old wood. White-tailed deer seldom browsed other than current twig growth. Hazelnut was the most abundant food item on the range and the primary food item in ungulate diets. The relevance of these results to assessing range carrying capacity, range nutrition, range utilization, and foraging niches of ungulates is discussed.
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