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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Biological consequences of winter-feeding of mule deer in developed landscapes in Northern Utah

Published source details

Peterson C. & Messmer T.A. (2011) Biological consequences of winter-feeding of mule deer in developed landscapes in Northern Utah. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 35, 252-260


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 replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2006 in eight forest, grassland and shrubland sites in Utah, USA (Peterson & Messmer 2011) found that providing supplementary food over winter did not increase mule deer Odocoileus hemionus survival or reproductive success. The average annual survival of deer with supplementary feeding (80%) did not differ significantly from that of deer without supplementary feeding (73%). Similarly, the average reproductive success of deer with supplementary feeding (0.58 fawns/female deer) did not differ significantly from that of deer without supplementary feeding (0.57 fawns/female deer). In 2001, eight sites known to host winter concentrations of mule deer were randomly selected. Supplementary food (corn, alfalfa and protein pellets, 0.9 kg/deer/day) was provided over winter (December–March 2001–2005) at four sites. No food was provided at the other four sites. Sites with and without supplementary food were >3 km apart. Fifty-two female mule deer receiving supplementary food and 38 that were not fed were radio-collared between January and March 2001–2005. They were monitored 2–3 times/week, from May 2002 to January 2006.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)