Thursday, March 13, 2008

Deer Habitat Management

By Kip Adams, Quality Deer Management Association, Director of Education and Outreach, Northern Region

Quality Deer Management (QDM) continues to increase in popularity across North America . As hunters develop a more complete understanding of QDM, the importance of habitat quality takes a larger role. Of QDM’s four building blocks, herd management is often the first that hunters gravitate to, but habitat management quickly grabs the attention of many QDM practitioners and is often one of the most satisfying aspects of a deer management program. When asked for QDMA’s perspective on habitat management, it is difficult to give an all-inclusive answer, but it is possible to provide a general overview of critical deer habitat components.

Quality habitat is important for bucks and does in all age classes. Does need nutritious forage to raise healthy fawns, bucks need it for large bodies and antlers, and both sexes require adequate cover to escape predation. Given the average deer eats 2,000 pounds of vegetation annually, it’s easy to see a tremendous amount of forage is necessary to support even a low-density deer herd. Larger herds and herds managed to maximize body and antler growth and reproductive capacity require even more high-quality foods.

No comments: