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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of supplemental feeding on white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, migration and survival in northern Wisconsin

Published source details

Lewis T.L. & Rongstad O.J. (1998) Effects of supplemental feeding on white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, migration and survival in northern Wisconsin. The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 112, 75-81


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 1986–1989 of a forested area in Wisconsin, USA (Lewis & Rongstad 1998) found that supplementary feeding of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus did not increase their overall survival. The average annual survival of winter-fed deer (78%) or summer-fed deer (53%) did not differ significantly from that of unfed deer (64%). Summer- and winter-fed deer had higher over-winter survival during a single severe winter only (summer-fed: 96%; winter-fed: 100%; not fed: 79%), but not during other periods. From October 1986 to July 1989, deer were fed shelled corn or commercial deer food from mid-April to mid-December (summer-feeding – 53 deer), 1 December to 30 April (winter-feeding – 66 deer) or were not fed (48 deer). All deer, except 24 that were winter-fed, occupied a 15 × 30-km area. No deer was winter-fed and summer-fed in the same year. Survival was monitored through radio-tracking. Deer use of feeders was determined by direct observations.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)