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Deer Herd Health
When nutrient limitations alone control deer populations, most herd health qualities suffer.
Historically, predation was probably the primary influence when deer populations were maintained
within the limits of food, cover, water, and space. Historical deer predators include the mountain
lion, gray wolf, coyote, and native American. The gray wolf and mountain lion have virtually been
removed from many areas through out our nation. Thus the importance of man’s role as a deer
predator / manager has increased.
In areas experiencing high deer density levels relative to carrying capacity, a deer population will
tend to have the following characteristics:
Low fawn crops
Low body weights
Small antlers in each Age Class
High incidences of disease and parasites
High levels of stress (due to poor nutrition and competition for space)
Depleted food supplies
Significant die-offs during harsh winters